This symposium on susceptibility and risk was the third in a series designed to bring together experts from diverse disciplines to discuss contemporary issues in risk assessment. The topic in 1996 was especially challenging since susceptibility is influenced by a myriad of factors including environmental, genetic, social and political elements. The delineation of the relative contribution of various 'susceptibility' factors has major implications for risk management options that may be applied in a regulatory context (risk prevention and risk reduction) or by the individual (risk avoidance). Current approaches to account for susceptibility in risk assessments (e.g. application of an uncertainty factor) have frequently been challenged as to their scientific basis and thus need periodic re-examination or update to maintain a credible foundation for the assessment process. The goal of this symposium was to gain a better understanding of the dimensions of the problem and to explore the directions that the risk assessment process might follow to better quantify the contribution of susceptibility in risk calculations.
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