Paolo F. Ricci
Holy Names University, USA
Title : Uses and Abuses of Risk Assessment: An Environmetal and Health Perspective
Abstract :

We combine the perceptual, physiological and decisional basis for reasoning with uncertainty and focus on the regulatory acceptance of linear and non-linear dose-response models as these are three pillars of risk assessment and management:

°§Formal analytical description of how decisions either should or are made

°§Fundamental neuro-physiological reasoning

°§Deviations from theoretical normative prescriptions, paradoxes, and relation to both behavioral and cognitive aspects of the individual decision-maker

We focus on the single decision-maker having to make choices in the public interest ®C falling into what may be loosely called the administrative law domain. Heuristic decision-making may be applicable to decision-makers who may not benefit from extensive technical, scientific, and legal advice sufficiently to make well-informed decisions and, importantly, may not have the funds for that advice. This is unlike the situation in which non-linear and linear dose-response models are currently being discussed and used in environmental decisions regarding setting standard and guidelines. The discussions that we review range from scientific debates, up to international scientific organizations such as the US National Academies of Science and the French equivalent. In most public decision-making, heuristics such as fast and frugal rules cannot be applied for legal and other reasons: it is here that an optimal choice can be guided by combining risk assessment methods with decision theory. They resolve ambiguities and account for uncertainty (e.g., via probabilities and their calculus). To achieve this objective, our discussion describe:

Cancer Dose-response ®C the J-shape v. the linear no-threshold (LNT) models used in regulatory analysis and decision-making

Context -- differences between the private and public decision-maker: a contextual tension

Individual reasoning ®C the analysis phase:

o Examples of brain related neurological basis of choice-making

o Axioms, methods, rules for choice, measures of uncertainty resulting in EUT

o Biases and paradoxes in EUT and corrections resulting in CPT

o Discounting

o Fast and frugal rules

Decisional Processing and Choice Center®C The central nervous system (CNS) and the brain as inherent Bayesian utility maximizers

Biography :

Dr. Ricci has led and conducted analyses and experimental work, for approximately 30 years, in the USA, Canada, Italy, Australia, France, Vietnam, China, and the European Union. For example, he has worked on: probabilistic decision models applied to environmental and energy choices, technological diffusion and innovation, probabilistic causation, linear and non-linear applied statistical models, deterministic and probabilistic systems analysis, as well as at the intersection between science and law via causal analysis. He also has studied the human health risks from nuclear and non-nuclear energy technologies, from the cradle to the grave, cancer and other toxic effects from exposure to airborne and waterborne contaminants and microbiological agents. He has written more than 200 papers, published 5 books, and has testified in the US Congress on waste management Bills. 

Dr. Ricci has been the Head of the Technology Clearinghouse of the IEA/OECD (full diplomatic status). Most of this work has been published in major journals and books with hundreds of scientific and legal citations to his published work. In the last four years, he has served as a peer reviewer of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) activities regarding the human health risks from past nuclear and thermonuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site, and in the reviews of other DOE activities at their facilities, including Hanford nuclear reactor sites. Dr. Ricci has also been an external peer reviewer of research for several international universities and has appeared on Channel 9 (Australia) television (Sunday Show), on environmental health policy.
Dr. Ricci has been Associate Professor at Stanford University and at UCLA (School of Public Health), as well as Adjunct Full Professor of Law at UC Berkeley. From 1994 to 2000, he was Associate Professor (equivalent to US Professor) of Public Health and Head of the Risk Analysis Unit (NSW Department of Health, Sydney), as well as Professor (equivalent to US Professor with Chair) at the University of Wollongong (Faculty of Law), Australia; he has also been Faculty Scholar at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  Dr. Ricci is an Honorary Professor, University of Queensland, NRCET, Brisbane, Australia; Adjunct Professor School of Public Health, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. He also is Research Professor at the University of San Francisco, Professor of Decision Analysis at Holy Names University, Oakland, and Guest professor at Xiamen University, China.

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