Evaluating human health risk requires weighing and integrating data from multiple disciplines. To assess the relative importance of various types of data and examine how United States scientists would prefer to use such data, we conducted telephone interviews with 331 epidemiologists, 551 toxicologists, 36 clinicians, and 374 scientists from other specialties related to public health. The participants were asked questions concerning the relative usefulness and importance of specific types of data in defining health risk and were also asked to evaluate short vignettes describing various data profiles. Finally, participants were asked if they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements regarding public health policy, risk assessment, and risk management. Survey results showed that the participants preferred using data from multiple disciplines to assess human health risk and that consistency between animal and human data was clearly important to them. Basing decisions about human health risk solely on animal data, on the other hand, was not acceptable. We also saw strong beliefs that the public does not understand health risk information and that public health dollars in the United States are not targeted effectively to reduce environmental health risks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Environmental Science