Center for Risk Science and Public Health
The Public Health Case for
Risk-Based Regulation
George Gray
Center for Risk Sci...
Two Areas Regulatory
Analysis Can Help
•  Rational allocation of resources – which risks?
•  Achieving the most good for o...
Budgetary Costs of Federal
Regulation Adjusted for Inflation
Source: Weidenbaum Center, Washington University and the Regu...
Environmental Costs
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan - 1980
“$150 billion per year is not necessarily too much
to invest in...
Making Decisions
•  Citizens desire protection from risks to health and
safety
•  Personal actions
•  Government actions
•...
All Sorts of Risks
Danger Lifetime Risk
Die from dog bite 4 x 10-6
Die in flood caused by storm 5 x 10-5
Drown in bathtub ...
Is There a Level of
“Acceptable” Risk?
•  Risks so low they aren’t worth worrying about
•  Risks so big we will always do ...
Searching for “Acceptable
Risks”
Searching for “Acceptable
Risks”
One in a Million
Activity Time (or Action) to Accumulate a
1 in a Million Risk of Death
Motor Vehicle Accident 100 Miles
F...
Public Perception Matters
•  Views on sources of risk influences personal actions
•  Public views on risk can influence re...
Example :
Risk Rankings
Why Does Public Perception
Matter?
•  Regulatory process is often driven by public concerns
•  “Overall, EPA’s priorities ...
Are We Using Resources
Effectively?
•  Managing human health and environmental
risks consumes significant resources
•  Com...
What Do We Buy With Our
Money?
Median Cost/Life-Year Saved
• Federal Aviation Administration $23,000
• Consumer Products S...
What Do We Buy With Our
Money?
Median Cost/Life-Year Saved
Health Care $19,000
Transportation $56,000
Occupational $350,00...
Comparing Alternatives
Source: Gray, GM and Cohen, JT (2003) Confronting Tradeoffs in Protecting Human Health and the Envi...
Public Health Implications
•  Inefficient use of risk reducing resources
•  Efficient allocation of resources could save 6...
The Way Forward:
Good Analysis!
•  Set priorities
•  Evaluate interventions
•  Inform wise choices
“Good Science” is Not
Sufficient
•  Suppose we knew exactly the consequences of
abating and not abating CO2 emissions
•  F...
Value Questions Remain
•  Tradeoffs among valued goods
•  How much of other good things are we (should we be) willing
to g...
But Good Science is
Important
•  In this workshop we will be looking at the science
behind RIA
•  Estimating existing risk...
OMB Guidance
Circular A-4, Sept. 17, 2003
•  Need for regulatory analysis
•  General issues
•  Analytic approaches (BCA, C...
Key Elements of Analysis
•  Explain how actions required by rule are
linked to expected benefits
•  Identify a baseline, f...
What is a Risk/Risk Tradeoff?
When actions to control a risk may themselves create
risks to health
Risk Management Action
...
Statement of the Problem-
A Public Health Perspective
•  Focus on target risk
•  Insufficient attention to risk tradeoffs ...
Analyzing Countervailing
Risks
Compared to the Target Risk,
the Countervailing Risk is:
Same Type Different Type
Compared ...
Risk Tradeoff Examples
Summary
There is a strong public health argument for sound
regulatory analysis
•  Identify priority risks in an objective ...
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The Public Health Case for Risk-Based Regulation, George Gray

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Presentation by Prof. George Gray, Director of the Centre for Risk Science and Public Health, George Washington University, at the Workshop on Risk Assessment in Regulatory Policy Analysis (RIA), Session 3, Mexico, 9-11 June 2014. Further information is available at http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/

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The Public Health Case for Risk-Based Regulation, George Gray

  1. 1. Center for Risk Science and Public Health The Public Health Case for Risk-Based Regulation George Gray Center for Risk Science and Public Health Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Milken Institute School of Public Health
  2. 2. Two Areas Regulatory Analysis Can Help •  Rational allocation of resources – which risks? •  Achieving the most good for our investments
  3. 3. Budgetary Costs of Federal Regulation Adjusted for Inflation Source: Weidenbaum Center, Washington University and the Regulatory Studies Center, the George Washington University. Derived from the Budget of the United States Government and related documents, various fiscal years. 3
  4. 4. Environmental Costs Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan - 1980 “$150 billion per year is not necessarily too much to invest in environmental protection but it surely is too much to invest unwisely”
  5. 5. Making Decisions •  Citizens desire protection from risks to health and safety •  Personal actions •  Government actions •  Regulatory attention and resources are limited – as are those for complying with regulations
  6. 6. All Sorts of Risks Danger Lifetime Risk Die from dog bite 4 x 10-6 Die in flood caused by storm 5 x 10-5 Drown in bathtub 9 x 10-5 Death by electrocution 5 x 10-5 Die in house fire 7 x 10-4 Drown 1 x 10-3 Die in motor vehicle accident 1 x 10-2
  7. 7. Is There a Level of “Acceptable” Risk? •  Risks so low they aren’t worth worrying about •  Risks so big we will always do something •  What if we look at how we regulate health and safety risks?
  8. 8. Searching for “Acceptable Risks”
  9. 9. Searching for “Acceptable Risks”
  10. 10. One in a Million Activity Time (or Action) to Accumulate a 1 in a Million Risk of Death Motor Vehicle Accident 100 Miles Fires 19 Days Electrocution 200 Days Tornado 5.5 Years Floods 2 years Police Officer 1.25 Days Working in Construction 3 Days Frequent Flyer 10 Days Source: Wilson, R. and Crouch, E.A.C. (2001) Risk-Benefit Analysis. Harvard University Press
  11. 11. Public Perception Matters •  Views on sources of risk influences personal actions •  Public views on risk can influence regulatory agenda too
  12. 12. Example : Risk Rankings
  13. 13. Why Does Public Perception Matter? •  Regulatory process is often driven by public concerns •  “Overall, EPA’s priorities appear more closely aligned with public opinion than with our estimated risks.” U.S. EPA (1987) Unfinished Business: A Comparative Assessment of Environmental Problems. Office of Policy Analysis and Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation, pXV •  Focus on smaller risks while bigger risks are neglected (e.g. indoor air pollution versus outdoor air pollution) or avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables because of fear of pesticides
  14. 14. Are We Using Resources Effectively? •  Managing human health and environmental risks consumes significant resources •  Compete with other uses of resources at federal, state, and local level •  Impose significant demands on private resources too
  15. 15. What Do We Buy With Our Money? Median Cost/Life-Year Saved • Federal Aviation Administration $23,000 • Consumer Products Safety Commission $68,000 • National Highway Transportation Safety Administration $78,000 • Occupational Safety and Health Administration $88,000 • EPA $7,600,000 Source: Tengs et al., (1995) Five Hundred Life-Saving Interventions and Their Cost-Effectiveness. Risk Analysis 15:369-390
  16. 16. What Do We Buy With Our Money? Median Cost/Life-Year Saved Health Care $19,000 Transportation $56,000 Occupational $350,000 Environmental $4,200,000 Source: Tengs et al., (1995) Five Hundred Life-Saving Interventions and Their Cost-Effectiveness. Risk Analysis 15:369-390
  17. 17. Comparing Alternatives Source: Gray, GM and Cohen, JT (2003) Confronting Tradeoffs in Protecting Human Health and the Environment in Critical Issues in Setting Regulatory Standards, 2nd Edition. Rural Water Partnership Series.
  18. 18. Public Health Implications •  Inefficient use of risk reducing resources •  Efficient allocation of resources could save 60,000 more lives at same cost to society* •  Misplaced priorities •  Public attention focused on smaller risks while larger are ignored *Source: Tengs T and Graham J. The opportunity costs of haphazard societal investments in life-saving. In R Hahn (Ed.) Risks, Costs, and Lives Saved: Getting Better Results from Regulation, Oxford University Press, 1996
  19. 19. The Way Forward: Good Analysis! •  Set priorities •  Evaluate interventions •  Inform wise choices
  20. 20. “Good Science” is Not Sufficient •  Suppose we knew exactly the consequences of abating and not abating CO2 emissions •  Future time path of climate (with regional detail) •  Future time paths of impacts on •  Agriculture •  Sea level •  Wildlife habitat and ecosystem services •  Storm frequency and severity •  Human health •  Everything else that might be affected •  Economic costs and consequences of abatement •  Would we agree on how much to abate CO2 emissions?
  21. 21. Value Questions Remain •  Tradeoffs among valued goods •  How much of other good things are we (should we be) willing to give up to avoid impacts of climate change? •  Smaller cars, car pooling, more expensive electricity? •  Distribution among people •  Which people should sacrifice for the benefit of others? •  How much should current generations give up to benefit future generations?
  22. 22. But Good Science is Important •  In this workshop we will be looking at the science behind RIA •  Estimating existing risk and the benefits of interventions •  Looking for ancillary benefits and risk tradeoffs
  23. 23. OMB Guidance Circular A-4, Sept. 17, 2003 •  Need for regulatory analysis •  General issues •  Analytic approaches (BCA, CEA) •  Identifying and measuring benefits and costs •  Discounting •  Uncertainty
  24. 24. Key Elements of Analysis •  Explain how actions required by rule are linked to expected benefits •  Identify a baseline, from which effects are measured •  World without the proposed rule •  Changes in technology, external factors, other rules •  Identify other effects •  Ancillary benefits •  Countervailing risks and costs •  Describe distributional effects
  25. 25. What is a Risk/Risk Tradeoff? When actions to control a risk may themselves create risks to health Risk Management Action Target Risk Countervailing Risk
  26. 26. Statement of the Problem- A Public Health Perspective •  Focus on target risk •  Insufficient attention to risk tradeoffs and countervailing risks that might be created •  Changes in behavior •  Alternative technologies •  Foregone benefits •  Side effects of the risk management actions •  May underestimate or exaggerate benefits of action when tradeoffs are ignored
  27. 27. Analyzing Countervailing Risks Compared to the Target Risk, the Countervailing Risk is: Same Type Different Type Compared to the Target Risk, the Countervailing Risk affects: Same Population Risk Offset Risk Substitution Different Population Risk Transfer Risk Transformation
  28. 28. Risk Tradeoff Examples
  29. 29. Summary There is a strong public health argument for sound regulatory analysis •  Identify priority risks in an objective manner •  Inform decisions to allocate society’s resources for risk reduction •  Ensure ancillary benefits and risk tradeoffs are considered

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