For a prominent feature of risk assessment, uncertainty factors attract few publications in the peer-reviewed literature. According to Web of Science, there are only 79 toxicology citations with “uncertainty factor*” in the title. A number of these are conference abstracts rather than full journal papers. Of these publications, 50% have been cited 7 times or fewer. Only 25 have been published since 2003.
Of these, a critical review by Martin et al. (2013) is fairly typical, attracting only two citations and going unmentioned in a recent, purportedly comprehensive review by Felter et al. (2015). In the latest issue of Health & Environment, we ask if there is anything in the Martin et al. review which should give us cause for concern about the effectiveness of uncertainty factors in protecting health.