Upcoming Events




Past Events


March 28, 2018




Application of an Updated Cramer et al. Decision Tree to Safety Assessment

Speaker: Dr. Szabina Stice, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Date and time: Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 10:00-11:30am

Location: USDA South Ag Bldg., Washington, DC

Summary: The Concept of the Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) uses the principles of chemical grouping and read-across to screen chemicals at low levels of exposure for prioritization of follow-up testing. The TTC approach relies on grouping chemicals using the Cramer et al. 1978 Decision Tree (DT), which was developed 40 years ago to provide a tool to prioritize orally ingested substances based on their chemical structure. Combining knowledge of structure, metabolism and toxicity, a sequence of yes/no questions were devised that leads to the assignment of a substance to one of three classes of toxic concern. Given the scientific knowledge accumulated since 1978, the DT is long overdue for an update. This presentation will discuss current work to develop more refined DT questions, which leads to an increased number of six classes of toxic concern, aimed at more accurate allocation of a broad range of structures to toxicity classes with appropriate thresholds.


December 8, 2017



“The Changing Regulatory Environment in Europe”

Dr. Ragnar Löfstedt, Director, King’s Centre for Risk Management, King’s College

December 8, 2017, 11:00 to 12:30

Jefferson Auditorium, South Building, U.S. Department of Agriculture

The USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis (ORACBA) will host a presentation by Dr. Ragnar Löfstedt on “The Changing Regulatory Environment in Europe” on December 8th, 2017 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm in the Jefferson Auditorium in the South Building of the Department of Agriculture. The presentation will discuss evidence based policy making post-Brexit and the changing nature of regulation in Europe, the role of science, transparency and risk communication. Dr. Löfstedt is the Director of the King’s Centre for Risk Management at Kings College in London. He is a recognized expert in risk assessment, management and communication and the author of over 90 peer reviewed articles. He is the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Risk Research and a fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis.


November 30, 2017



Speaker: Tee L. Guidotti, MD, MPH, DABT, FRCPC, International Consultant

Discussant: LeRoy Paddock, Associate Dean for Environmental Law Studies, George Washington University

Organizers: The SRA-NCAC and the George Washington Environmental and Energy Law Program.

Co-sponsors: GWU Center for Risk Science and Public Health and SRA Occupational Health and Safety Specialty Group.

Date and time: Thursday, November 30, 2017, 6pm-7:30pm.

Summary: The popularity of the idea of “sustainability” and its increasing acceptance by the business sector, provides a new platform for gains in health and environmental quality with less friction and confrontation. A key insight is that sustainability reframes issues of environmental management to emphasize cooperation and de-emphasize conflict, compared to traditional approaches of “environmental protection”. Dr. Guidotti’s book explores deep links between health and sustainability, frameworks for analyzing sustainability management issues, ways of knowing, and career options in sustainability that engage with public health and risk management. Health and sustainability go together in very practical ways, as by reducing pollution and risk and by protecting food and the living environment. They are also linked more deeply in ways that suggest strategies to promote health and to reduce disparities. To advance this partnership, there should be a vigorous dialogue between health professionals and professionals in sustainability and environmental studies and sciences. Dean Paddock will add his perspective on the intersection of these two important areas based on his experience over more than 30 years working on environmental legal issues. Here are the links to the speaker's slides and the discussant's thoughts on this topic.

Location: George Washington University Faculty Conference Center at 716 20th St NW, Washington, DC 20052, 5th floor.


September 7, 2017

The USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost Benefit Analysis (ORACBA) hosted the “Benefit Cost Analysis: Advancing Analysis Workshop”, co-sponsored by the Society for Benefit Cost Analysis, Economic Research Service and National Capital Area Chapter of the Society for Risk Analysis on September 7th, 2017 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

The Workshop consists of four sessions of papers from two most recent (2017 and 2016) SBCA conference presentations that are especially relevant to the economists who develop regulatory impact analyses in support of rulemaking. The topics of the sessions range from specific analyses to support regulations (e.g., behavioral responses to health information and warnings), through valuation methods for informed decision making (e.g., applying VSL when persons choose risk or care about risks to others), and finally through retrospective benefit cost analyses of rules (e.g., retrospective review of DOE’s energy efficiency standards). The issues discussed are especially timely considering the new requirements of the Executive Order 13771. The workshop also serves to introduce regulatory economists to the SBCA and its vast resources and to our NCAC-SRA chapter. For more information about this workshop, please visit event website.


December 5, 2016

How to 'Prove' the Negative: a Two-Step Procedure to Overcome NIMBY

by Dr. Jose Manel Palma-Oliveira (University of Lisbon), a former Presedent of SRA-Europe

BRG, LLC, Washington, DC


April 22,2016

Evidence Based Uncertainty Analysis: What Should We Do in Europe?

by Dr. Ragner E. Lofstedt (King's College London)

The George Washington University, Washington, DC

co-sponsored with USDA ORACBA Science, Policy and Risk Forum and organized by the GWU Regulatory Studies Center


March 14, 2016

Salmonella Risks Pre-Harvest and Their Importance for Food Safety

by Dr. Karin Hoelzer, the Pew Charitable Trusts

co-sponsored with USDA ORACBA Science, Policy and Risk Forum



Preconference Professional Development Workshop: March 12, 2014
George Washington University Marvin Center, Washington, D.C.

The Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis (SBCA) is an international group of practitioners, academics, and others who are working to improve the theory and application of benefit-cost analysis. We hope you will join us for our 2014 Annual Conference and Meeting and preconference workshops. The conference will feature over 100 presentations on diverse topics, including energy, the environment, health, crime, transportation, homeland security, finance and many others.


WORKSHOP: "Enhancing Science and Policy for Chemical Risk Assessments" was co-hosted by NCAC, the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center and Center for Risk Science and Public Health, the American Chemistry Council, and the Administrative Conference of the United States on October 23, 2012. Discussion built on recent reports from the Bipartisan Policy Center, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Keystone Group and focused on data evaluation, data integration, and peer review. The workshop contributed to an Administrative Conference of the United States project focused on best practices for the use of science in the administrative process. The workshop was led by subject-matter experts from academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and stakeholder organizations. Visit for more information and workshop materials.

"Estimation of cancer risks and benefits associated with a potential increased consumption of fruits and vegetables" presentation by Dr. Rick Reiss was co-hosted by the USDA ORACBA Forum and the NCAC Chapter on September 25, 2012. This presentation provided an analysis of the potential number of cancer cases that might be prevented if half the U.S. population increased its fruit and vegetable consumption by one serving each per day. This number is contrasted with an upper-bound estimate of concomitant cancer cases that might be theoretically attributed to the intake of pesticide residues arising from the same additional fruit and vegetable consumption. The cancer prevention estimates were derived using a published meta-analysis of nutritional epidemiology studies. The cancer risks were estimated using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods, cancer potency estimates from rodent bioassays, and pesticide residue sampling data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The resulting estimates are that approximately 20,000 cancer cases per year could be prevented by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, while up to 10 cancer cases per year could be caused by the added pesticide consumption. These estimates have significant uncertainties (e.g., potential residual confounding in the fruit and vegetable epidemiologic studies and reliance on rodent bioassays for cancer risk). However, the overwhelming difference between benefit and risk estimates provides confidence that consumers should not be concerned about cancer risks from consuming conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.

Dr. Reiss is a principal scientist at Exponent. He is an environmental health scientist with expertise in risk assessment, exposure assessment, environmental chemistry and fate, mathematical modeling, and applied statistics.

SHORT COURSE: "Public Health Risk Science and Management" was held at George Washington University, Washington, DC on 18-20 September 2012. This three-day course by the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) gave participants a thorough grasp of how to understand, characterize, and communicate about health risks—and apply that knowledge to policy decisions. SPHHS faculty members, along with lecturers with experience at federal agencies and other organizations, addressed the science and theory that inform risk analysis and management. Participants learned about the scientific tools that help us measure and characterize risk, including toxicology, epidemiology, and exposure assessment. They explored methods for characterizing, communicating about, and analyzing risk. Case studies were presented on food safety, energy sources, plasticizers in children’s toys, and other topics applying these approaches to some of today’s most pressing issues.

The course was directed by Dr. George Gray, Director, Center for Risk Science and Public Health Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University, School of Public Health and Health Services. For more information please click here.

"Reclaiming Health and Safety: A Report on Current Health and Safety Legislation to the UK Government" was held on May 17, 2012 from 6:30pm-8:00pm, at George Washington University. The event was co-sponsored by USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis’ Risk Forum. Professor Ragnar E. Lofstedt of Kings College London discussed his independent review of health and safety legislation commissioned by the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions.

"Managing for a Healthy and Sustainable Chesapeake Bay: Human and Ecological Risk" was held on April 23-24, 2012 at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Event was co-sponsored by the Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The two-day meeting brought together professionals and students from a wide variety of fields to present their research and to discuss our evolving understanding of the Bay and its current state of health and functioning. Speakers included SETAC-NA President Dr. Barnett Rattner; Secretary of SRA Dr. Christina McLaughlin; and Ms. Katherine Wallace Antos of the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, U.S. EPA.

"Moving Forward with IRIS Reform: Implementing the National Academies' Roadmap for Revisions" was held at a GW University on April 18, 2012 from 6-8pm. Panelists were Lynn Goldman, Dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University; Yiliang Zhu, Professor, University of South Florida and Committee Member, National Research Council Committee to Review EPA's Draft IRIS Assessment of Formaldehyde; Heidi R. King, Chief Economist, House Energy and Commerce Committee; Chuck Elkins, President, Chuck Elkins & Associates and Former Director of the Toxic Substances Program at the EPA; and Becky Clark, Acting Director of the National Center for Environmental Assessment at EPA. The panel discussed the National Research Council's “roadmap for revisions” in their 2011 review of EPA's draft Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of formaldehyde. The panel also examined the key factors to consider for effective implementation, what factors, if any, the roadmap failed to address, and the current responses of both EPA and Congress.

"Emerging Risks of Synthetic Biology", February 28 at the George Washington University Law School, Environmental Law Program. Panelists Theresa Good (NSF), Todd Kuiken (Wilson Center), Eric Hoffman (Friends of the Earth), Jennifer Kuzma, (University of Minnesota), and Lynn L. Bergeson (Bergeson & Campbell) presented on topics related to environmental risk, oversight and governance, public funding sources, the DIY Bio community, and regulatory mechanisms. This event was one of the highlights of the year. Over 60 people from government, think tanks, and the private sector attended; a follow on event to engage more stakeholders and explore additional themes is planned.

"Managing Nuclear Risk: Perception of Risks, Trust in Science and Government, Lessons from Fukushima, and the Growing Gap Between Policy and Politics of Waste Disposal", January 26th, 2012, 6-8 pm. LOCATION: George Washington University, Media and Public Affairs Building, Room B07, 805 21st Street, NW (21st & H), Washington, DC 20052.
PANEL: Dr. Michael Greenberg;; Dr. Warner North;; Dr. Roger Kasperson;; Dr. Tom Cochran. Moderator: Dr. Tee Guidotti