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Michael Gough

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Dr Michael Gough (PhD, Brown University) is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and was director of science and risk studies there until 1999. He is a vocal critic of "assumption-based risk assessment", and actively promotes biotechnology. He is a former staff member at the National Institutes of Health and the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and previously taught microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine and SUNY-Stony Brook.

According to a biographical profile in a 2002 report he co-authored, Gough "taught microbiology and did research in molecular biology for about 10 years, during which time, he was a Fulbright lecturer in Peru and India".

"In the last two decades, he has worked in environmental health risk assessment at the U.S. congressional Office of Technology Assessment, where he managed the Biological and Behavioral Sciences Program, and middleof-the-road and libertarian think tanks, his profile states.

"In his opinion, health risk assessment is a straw house erected on a sand foundation. Estimated health risks are (almost always, or, perhaps, always) too small to be detected (let alone measured), even if the risks are realized. Perversely, the impossibility of measurement is taken as sufficient reason to invoke the precautionary principle and to regulate, restrict, label, or boycott. Risk assessment is science turned on its head. The essence of science is measurement; the essence of risk assessment is estimation and policybased assumption," his profile states.

Gough is a fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, current vice-president of the International Society of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.

He has written "more than 40 papers and newspaper pieces about risk assessment" as well as authoring Dioxin, Agent Orange (Plenum Press, 1986), co-editing Readings in Risk (Johns Hopkins, 1990), and co-authoring with Steve Milloy of Silencing Science (Cato, 1999).

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