Epidemiological study results have a key role in the assessment of health risks associated with exposures to
chemicals and pollutants, and often serve as the basis for the development of regulatory limits for environmental and
occupational health. A key uncertainty in the application of epidemiological study results in risk assessments stems from
variability in defining and operationalizing the concept of consistency of findings across studies, with assessments of
consistency often a controversial component of risk assessments. Although assessment of consistency of findings across a
diverse collection of epidemiological studies is central to evaluating that body of evidence for supporting causal
inferences, the variability in definition and formal evaluation methods strongly suggest the need for constructive
approaches to consistently and transparently evaluate data consistency.
In response to the need to improve approaches to assessing consistency in epidemiological study results, the Johns
Hopkins Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute organized a workshop held in Baltimore, Maryland in September 2010
to identify and discuss key methodological issues, and to develop recommendations for qualitative and quantitative
approaches to addressing those issues. A multi-disciplinary approach was utilized for the workshop, involving invited
experts from a variety of fields, and the invited participants were drawn from academia, industry, government, and the
public interest sectors. This report provides a summary of selected epidemiology methodological issues discussed by the
workshop participants and provides the workshop’s key findings and recommendations for future approaches to
addressing this issue.