Tiered chemical testing: A value of information approach
by Fumie Yokota, George Gray, James K. Hammitt, and Kimberly M. Thompson, Risk Analysis 2004;24(6):1625-1639

In December 2000 the EPA initiated the Voluntary Children's Chemical Evaluation Program (VCCEP) by asking manufacturers to voluntarily sponsor toxicological testing in a tiered process for 23 chemicals selected for the pilot phase. The tiered nature of the VCCEP pilot program creates the need for clearly defined criteria for determining when information is sufficient to assess the potential risks to children. This raises questions about how to determination the “adequacy” of the existing information and assess the need to undertake efforts to reduce uncertainty (through further testing). This paper applies a value of information analysis approach to determine adequacy by modeling how toxicological and exposure data collected through the VCCEP may be used to inform risk management decisions. The analysis demonstrates the importance of information about the exposure level and control costs in making decisions regarding further toxicological testing. This paper accounts for the cost of delaying control action and identifies the optimal testing strategy for a constrained decision maker who, absent applicable human data, cannot regulate without bioassay data on a specific chemical. It also quantifies the differences in optimal testing strategy for three decision criteria: maximizing societal net benefits, ensuring maximum exposure control while net benefits are positive (i.e., benefits outweigh costs), and controlling to the maximum extent technologically feasible while the lifetime risk of cancer exceeds a specific level of risk, and shows the large differences that exist in net benefits between the three criteria for the range of exposure levels where the optimal actions differ.

This study builds on reviews of the value of information literature, discussed in:

Yokota F, Thompson KM. Value of information literature analysis (VOILA): A review of applications in health risk management. Medical Decision Making 2004;24(3):287-298.

Yokota F, Thompson KM. Value of information (VOI) analysis in environmental health risk management (EHRM). Risk Analysis 2004;24(3):635-650.

From 2002-6 Professor Thompson served as a member of the Core Panel charged with reviewing VCCEP submissions.

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