U.S. risk-assessment draft completely eviscerated by real live scientists

The Bush administration’s quest to make federal-agency evaluations of public-health risks from chemicals and other products even more meaningless has been stymied. A draft risk-assessment policy issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget has been called “fundamentally flawed” by the National Research Council, which OMB had asked for a review. Heaping criticism on the draft, reviewers said it was broad, unclear, and unfair, covering “territory beyond what previous reports have recommended and beyond the current state of science.” Wait, you mean the Bush administration is messing with science? We’re shocked, shocked to find science-messing in this establishment. The NRC critics — who surprised even themselves by trashing a policy they’d merely expected to offer feedback on — also worried that it would make risk assessments “more susceptible to being manipulated to achieve a predetermined result.” Shocked, we tell you. It’s back to the drawing board for the gentle folk at OMB.