World Health Organization (WHO) Issues Life Stage Guidance for Risk Assessment

Lynn Grayson   By E. Lynn Grayson, Partner, Jenner & Block

According to WHO, a significant challenge exists with monitoring and assessing individual and population level exposure and risk to environmental chemicals associated with how to consider age and life-stage related changes in behavior and physiology.  Age and life-stage related differences will determine the critical windows of susceptibility as well as the appropriate distribution of exposure factors required to address specific exposure scenarios.  Age and life-stage differences in how individuals interact with the environmental may be a major determinant for identifying those most vulnerable to risks from particular exposures to environmental contaminants.

WHO, through its International Program on Chemical Safety, has developed guidance on these issues and specifically how to systematically identify critical life stages for use in exposure and risk assessment.  The draft guidance, Identifying Important Life Stages for Monitoring and Assessing Risks from Exposure to Environmental Contaminants, was prepared by a group of experts convened by WHO.  WHO is accepting comments on this draft guidance through January 31, 2012.

WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system.  It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

E. Lynn Grayson is a partner in Jenner & Block's Chicago office and a member of the Firm's Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law, Climate and Clean Technology Law, Defense & Aerospace and Environmental Litigation Practices. Ms. Grayson is AV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell's highest peer recognition for ethical standards and legal ability. Ms. Grayson has been recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America, an Illinois Super Lawyer and Lawdragon magazine named Ms. Grayson to its "New Stars, New Worlds" list of 500 attorneys who are "carving the path to the new heights of the legal profession." Chambers USA and Leading Lawyers Network have recognized Ms. Grayson as one of the country's leading environmental lawyers as recommended by a peer review process.

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