Discussion on the boundary of risk assessment and risk management
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Abstract The current question on the relation of “risk assessment” and “risk management” may exist at the level of who should be responsible for what. Here, the argument will be made upon “Risk Analysis”. The problem here is whether a same person can or should perform both risk assessment and risk management or not. The risk assessors and risk managers are to be sharing the task to perform the risk analysis under close cooperation. The practical endpoint of the risk analysis is the “round table meeting” where the risk assessors and risk managers become aware of their own accurate role and relation with the other stake holders inclding those who are managed or regulated. Credentials needed for a toxicologist to be a risk assessor are not only an ability to qualify and analyze the data, but an ability to understand the ‘plausibility’ that can be extrapolated from them. Different from the “weight of evidence” approach, plausibility is to extrapolate the data by scientifically referring to the wider range of knowledge. Even as a perfect risk assessor, a tragedy waits for those who unknowingly mixes up the position of risk assessor and risk manager. Potentially it happens when a personal belief was reflected to risk management and went wrong with the risk communication processes. In the round table, risk assessors and managers should talk to each other with plausibility in science and sharing the task towards the goal of the meeting. A cascade of events initiated by the March 11, 2011 devastating earthquake has affected toxicology researchers in various ways. A generalized conclusion here is that the risk assessors and risk managers should discuss, before and during the round table meeting, “how far can we pollute our living space?” based on a realization that Toxicology is covering both “Hygiene” of public population and “Clinical aspects” of individuals who consult a doctor.