From the Editors


We begin with a letter to the editor referencing an article in this issue, along with a response from the author of the article. We encourage letters from readers and continued constructive debate and dialogue about the range of risk issues covered by the journal.

The issue itself begins with a perspective about resilience. Using flooding in the Mississippi River Basin as an illustration, Park et al. examine resilience as a process of sensing, anticipating, learning, and adapting, and they suggest how resilience connects with risk analysis. Their essay is well worth reading in light of the increase in the number of costly hazard events across the globe.

Four articles focus on economic costs and benefits. The benefits of controlling fine particles have been praised and questioned. With metropolitan Philadelphia as a study area, Art Fraas and Randall Lutter examine alternative assumptions and probability distributions used to calculate the value of mortality benefits, and these are found to have major effects on the results.

Alexandre Gohin et al. explore the impact of foot-and-mouth disease on local economies. The authors consider farm bankruptcy, market factors, and other issues and suggest that the complexity of the impacts defies simple policy responses.

Peyton Ferrier and Jean Buzby develop and test an optimization model to select an economically optimal sample size for testing for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in beef trim. They conclude that the current sample size is too small. In the next article, Mark Powell questions the optimization model proposed by Ferrier and Buzby and reviews the advantages and disadvantages of sampling.

Five articles suggest methods for improving risk analysis tools. Raghvendra Cowlagi and Joseph Saleh define “coordinability” and consistency in the context of safety analysis. Using the recent history of aircraft accidents and near misses, they argue that these are failure mechanisms that need to be addressed, and they propose these as attributes of high reliability organizations.

Abel Pinto and colleagues surveyed safety experts to assess the key components of an occupational safety risk assessment. Using experts in the mining, electrical power production, transportation, and petrochemical industries, the authors view their work as a blueprint for developing occupational risk analyses for industrial sites.

J. M. David et al. address bacterial infections by considering the level of exposure to sources, and differences between bacterial types and sources. The authors examined parameters assumed in studies, and they propose and demonstrate alternative ways of calculating these parameters.

Supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Peng Song et al. take on the thorny issue of simulating longitudinal data. The authors report that their simulation method is more successful than others, which, however, does not imply that longitudinal data sets should not be a high research priority.

Jinxian Weng and colleagues examine vehicle-crash-associated work injuries. They compare standard logistic regression methods with tree-based ones, and find that the decision tree approach is more effective than either a standard decision tree approach or a standard logistic regression model.

The final two articles examine the issue of acceptable risk. Are environmental lead exposure levels low enough to prevent measurable health impacts in children? Esben Budtz-Jørgensen et al. pooled blood lead level and IQ scores data from seven studies. They conclude that levels need to be lowered. Terje Aven considers the risk appetite concept, how it relates to risk acceptability and seeking, and how it fits comfortably with some elements of risk analysis but less so with others.

Michael Greenberg and Karen Lowrie

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