The general response that can be given to the citizens' concern is that there is general risk inherent in any risk assessment, exposure assessment or risk management decision-making. Whereas the state's decision makers were overly impressed with scientific studies to the point of disregarding its limitations, the concerned citizens may on the other hand be making the risk of sweeping generalizations as to the use of invalided mathematical models about the population's exposure.
We can infer from this that the latitude of uncertainty brought about by myriads of factors lend a propensity to appropriate the measure in accordance with one's interest or advocacy.
However, we do not preclude the validity of the concerns of the citizens. As noted by Contini, et al (1991), a risk analysis on the accidental release of ammonia conducted by teams of scientist from eleven European countries resulted in eleven risk estimates whose numerical results were dictated or dependent on many assumptions introduced during every step of the risk analysis.
In presentation as to the uses, limitation and abuses of risk assessment, risk assessments are being used as tool/proof to advance technologies as hard science using unrealistic assumptions which are kept hidden and not stated openly (Howard). This gives credence to the citizen's concern that there seem to be blind adherence or faith in assessments masked as hard science but oftentimes are based on unrealistic assumptions. So their clamor for validly tested models in assessing population exposure seems justifiable on this account.
However, requiring that exposure assessments be based only on validated models ...