Environ. Biosafety Res.
Volume 5, Number 3, July-September 2006
|Page(s)||119 - 125|
|Published online||17 March 2007|
Problem formulation and hypothesis testing for environmental risk assessments of genetically modified crops
Syngenta, Jealott's Hill International Research Centre, Bracknell, Berkshire
RG42 6EY, UK
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental risk assessments can provide high confidence of minimal risk by testing theories, “risk hypotheses”, that predict the likelihood of unacceptable harmful events. The creation of risk hypotheses and a plan to test them is called problem formulation. Effective problem formulation seeks to maximize the possibility of detecting effects that indicate potential risk; if such effects are not detected, minimal risk is indicated with high confidence. Two important implications are that artificial test conditions can increase confidence, whereas prescriptive data requirements can reduce confidence (increase uncertainty) if they constrain problem formulation. Poor problem formulation can increase environmental risk because it leads to the collection of superfluous data that may delay or prevent the introduction of environmentally beneficial products.
Key words: risk assessment / problem formulation / scientific method / certainty / data requirements
© ISBR, EDP Sciences, 2007