Risk Analysis & Risk Communication
Policy analysis occurs in an uncertain environment. Evolving science, changing demography, interacting policies, cross-cutting economic forces, and numerous other forces all influence whether a policy or regulation will have the intended effect. Crafting analyses that recognize these uncertainties and characterize the probability of various outcomes is essential.
IEc consultants are versed in cutting-edge analytic techniques associated with human health and ecological risk assessment. We routinely work with complex data on contaminants in environmental media and develop exposure scenarios for humans and wildlife. We often apply these data in sophisticated probabilistic models such as Monte Carlo simulations. We are also expert in methods that address uncertainty in data-limited situations. For instance, we use elicitation of expert judgments to inform risk assessments, and frequently incorporate this information into quantitative decision models. Likewise, we estimate the potential economic value of reducing uncertainties to improve policy decision-making outcomes (e.g., value of information analysis).
Risk assessment principles are vital in assessing public policy in the fields of environmental quality, consumer safety, and workplace safety. IEc consultants use state-of-the-art risk assessment techniques to model expected reductions in fatal and nonfatal health effects, such as fewer cases of chronic bronchitis resulting from improved air quality or fewer injuries associated with boating accidents. We also blend our risk assessment expertise with our knowledge of resource economics to estimate the economic value of policies and programs aimed at improving human health and safety.
Ecological risk assessment plays a central role in IEc’s work managing natural resources. Site remediation and restoration efforts often call for field studies to collect environmental media (e.g., sediment, tissue) and toxicity studies to document known and possible impacts on key species. To support these efforts, IEc assists in the development of technical work plans, sampling plans, and quality assurance plans, ensuring that they will support quantitative analysis and modeling. We also research and analyze physical ecological threats such as sea level rise, and have led the development of numerous studies that examine risk scenarios and adaptation options in a probabilistic framework.
IEc blends its expertise in risk assessment and training to help decision-makers understand and address risk in their programs. Our training modules are customized to specific clients, but all are based on “behavioral insights” concepts. This field examines how individuals process information to make decisions in uncertain or risky environments. The training uses video, group exercises, and other tools to help public and private managers communicate risk, explain technical concepts, and interact with the media more effectively. Clients have included the U.S. EPA, state public health agencies, the U.S. Navy, and private corporations.