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Peer-Review Process Begins with TERA

To insure that sound, reliable scientific practices are applied throughout the Sudbury Soils Study, all results and reports produced by the SARA Group will be peer-reviewed by an independent, international expert review panel. Members of the panel will be selected by Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA) based on their knowledge of either ecological or human health risk assessment. Representatives from TERA were recently in Sudbury to meet with the technical committee and public advisory committee, and to hear presentations by members of the SARA Group.

A brief profile of the group’s mandate has been prepared by Jacqueline Patterson of TERA:

In 1995, TERA, a non-profit, independent corporation, was founded to improve the science of risk assessment by focusing on partnerships among all members of the risk assessment community.

TERA President and founder, Dr. Michael Dourson, had a vision of toxicology excellence for risk assessment to protect public health. His vision would be accomplished by developing and communicating risk assessment information, sponsoring peer reviews and consultations, improving risk methods through research, and educating interested parties on risk assessment issues.

TERA's focus on high quality science and bridges between government, industry, and environmental groups has led, ten years later, to an organization conducting work with a diverse group of partners that include state, provincial and federal agencies, environmental groups, private companies and trade associations.

By actively seeking partners from all sectors of the risk assessment community, TERA gains a broad perspective and understanding of the scientific issues of risk assessment. Because TERA is not dependent on any single sector for its funding, the company is able to conduct independent, high-quality science and prepare work products that reflect the best, up-to-date scientific judgment, which is not influenced by any particular partner. The value of this independent, third-party approach is recognized by diverse sponsors who individually and jointly approach TERA to play a key role in their risk assessment projects.

TERA is comprised of three administrative staff and 13 scientists – six with PhDs and five with Masters degrees in their respective fields. Four members of the scientific team are board-certified toxicologists Combined, the TERA group offers Sudbury more than 125 years of experience in the fields of risk assessment, environmental science, and regulatory toxicology.

TERA has its origins in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) risk assessment programs and continues to produce cutting-edge risk assessments following the guidelines of EPA and other respected authorities.

As a non-profit company, TERA is committed to serving the needs of the risk assessment community. TERA provides sponsors and the public with independent and objective opinions through the following activities:

• Establishing high quality risk assessment values through the Verifiable Estimates for Risk Assessment (VERA) program;

• Compiling and distributing peer reviewed risk values through the International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER) database;

• Sponsoring expert peer consultation and review of risk values;

• Improving the underlying methods for risk assessment through research and publication;

• Educating diverse groups through training courses and scientific support.

• Facilitating improved risk assessment and management decisions through informed and neutral guidance.

TERA provides both peer consultation and peer review services to meet the needs of government and private organizations. TERA has conducted over 40 independent peer reviews since the Peer Review Program was started by TERA in 1996. These reviews have evaluated a wide variety of work products including chemical assessments, risk assessment methodologies, guidance documents, studies protocols, and research plans.

TERA’s procedures for selecting reviewers and conducting meetings are consistent with the guidance provided by the U.S. government and professional organizations.

Visit for more information about peer consultations and peer reviews organized by TERA.

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