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October 3, 1986

Determining Risks to Health: Federal Policy and Practice

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan (Emeritus) Ann Arbor


by US Department of Health and Human Services, Task Force on Health Risk Assessment, 410 pp, $32, Dover, Mass, Auburn House Publishing Co, 1986.

JAMA. 1986;256(13):1806. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380130134046

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book is based on a 1985 report to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, by an intramural task force instructed to review the department's activities in health risk assessment and management. The report is in the book appendix.

Risk assessment is here defined as "the qualitative or quantitative estimation of adverse effects from exposure to specific health hazards or from the absence of beneficial effect" (italics added). The component units of the department completed a questionnaire describing their activities in the defined area. Since the Department of Health and Human Services includes the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry, the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the report covers a significant portion, but not all, of the federal government's health