102 research outputs found

    Who Needs Causation Probabilities?

    No full text
    Everyone is appalled at the current system for compensating victims of radiation exposure. The legal system is extremely expensive and time consuming. It gives only a fraction of the total award to those victims lucky enough to get anything* The uncertainty and long lags give little incentive to the employer to prevent future disease. Every scientist's heart should warm at improving the scientific basis of awards. At present, so-called scientific experts contradict each other, often cloaking with scientific legitimacy their speculations or feelings about social justice. The jury cannot help but make an arbitrary judgment, since they have no scientific basis to do otherwise</p

    Book Review: Technology and politics, edited by Michael E. Kraft and Norman J. Vig.

    No full text
    Technology and technological change are perhaps the most important forces shaping domestic politics, international relations, the economy, and our individual life styles. Vig describes three abstract views of the role of technology in society. According to the instrumentalism view,“it is the human beings who create and use technology that make it a force for good or evil: technology itself is considered morally neutral.” According to the social determinism view,“technology is not a neutral instrument for problem solving but an expression of social, political, and cultural values.” According to the technological determinism view, “technology shapes human development more than it serves human ends.”</p

    Limits of human behavior and the role of science and technology

    No full text
    I said, “Yes, but…” a dozen times when I read Michael Huesemann’s Viewpoint (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2003, 37, 259A–261A). Yes, I am concerned about the large quantity of toxicants we manufacture, but we cannot ignore the large benefits society has gotten from these chemicals.</p

    Injury as externality: An economic perspective of trauma

    No full text
    Economists emphasize the costs in dollars or other desirable outcomes of additional safety in contrast to safety experts who remind people to design safe products and operate them safely. Society loses emotionally and financially from traumatic injury. The emotional loss must be balanced against allowing individuals free choice and encouraging them to develop judgment. Individuals are viewed as making their own best safety decisions, although they must have good information and face the correct indentives. Currently, society subsidizes risk taking in many ways, thereby discouraging safety. Health and life insurance ought to be required along with liability insurance, to correct the incentives to drivers. In addition, regulation is required to deal with physical externalities.</p

    Balancing Economics and Health in Setting Environmental Standards

    No full text
    No one likes to face the prospect of harm or loss, especially if the situation is not of one's choosing. Carcinogens added to food, noxious air pollutants, and toxic substances' in the environment increase the risk of untoward events. If nothing can be done to lower the risk, because the technology doesn't exist or is too expensive, one can rage at the circumstance, but must bear the loss. But surely the probability of loss should be removed or at least lowered as much as possible when that is technologically feasible and the costs can be borne without bankrupting an industry.</p

    Comment: Low-Cost Strategies for Coping with CO₂ Emission Limits

    No full text
    <p>Projecting what energy generation and use-technologies will be available and will be used during the next century ( and longer) can be somewhat more scientific than debating how many fairies can dance on the head of a pin -- if one is careful. The New Millennium could see the equivalent of ~old fusion, a small scale, nonpolluting technology that uses abundant materials and has no toxic residuals. We could have end-use technologies that are ten or one-hundred times more efficient than those currently available.</p

    The Cost of Abating Sulfur, Nitrogen, and Ozone Air Pollutants

    No full text
    <p>Economists have a unique ability to get adversaries to stop attacking each other and turn their attention to the real problem: the economist. This is only appropriate since what economists enjoy most is attacking other economists. As shown by a recent conference on the economics of acid rain (Mandelbaum), economists continue to have this unique ability to unite lion and lamb against economists (Stauffer, Dunbar, Parker). The economic estimates of benefits drew fire from all sides. Even the estimated costs of abatement made almost everyone unhappy because the economists claimed that important elements had been omitted, while environmentalists and consumers deplored the focus on efficiency because equity got short shrift.</p

    Book Review: In search of safety: Chemicals and cancer risk, by John D. Graham, Laura C. Green, and Marc J. Roberts

    No full text
    John D. Graham, Laura C. Green, and Marc J. Roberts examine the scientific policy conflicts in regulating potentially carcinogenic chemicals. Using detailed case studies of formaldehyde and benzene, they probe the scientific data regarding carcinogenicity and the dose-response relationship, and then describe the history of regulatory action. Both chemicals have precipitated major battles among scientists, have involved at least two regulatory agencies, and have spawned important litigation.</p

    HORMESIS: Implications for Public Policy Regarding Toxicants

    No full text
    <p>Protecting workers and the public from toxic chemicals, particularly carcinogens, has been a principal goal of public policy. In the absence of knowing by what mechanism of action a toxicant harms people, regulatory toxicology assumes that even tiny doses can cause harm. Risk aversion has led to legislation and regulation that seek to ban toxic chemicals or lower exposure to trivial levels. Contradicting this policy, many studies show health benefits from low-level exposure to toxicants, including some carcinogens. This is known as hormesis. Thus, hormesis could lead to a fundamental change in the policy for regulating toxic substances. In particular, all toxicants that benefit health at low-level exposures should face similar change in regulations for low-dose exposure. The result would be the dissolving of the source of differences in policy for carcinogens and noncarcinogens at low doses. Two questions must be answered before hormesis can be incorporated into regulatory policy. (<em>a</em>) Are there sensitive individuals who would be harmed at doses that would help most people? (<em>b</em>) Is the hormetic effect toxicant specific or would exposure to just a few toxicants achieve the full benefit from hormesis?</p

    Book Review: The risk professionals, by Thomas M. Dietz and Robert W. Rycroft

    No full text
    In attempting to revitalize the Environmental Protection Agency after the debacle of the early Reagan administration, William Ruckleshaus called for increasing professionalism of environmental management through the use of risk assessment methods. He stressed science over politics and urged professionalism up to the point of political decisions (which must balance values). In an ideal world, these risk assessors would delimit, analyze, and set out the implications of each decision. As faceless scientists, they could be moved among jobs with little effect on the decisions or their implementation. However, as Graham, Green, and Roberts demonstrate in In Search of Safety, the scientific foundation of risk assessment is too weak to eliminate important scientific disagreement. Instead, the scientific basis can only set bounds on the level, and even the nature; of risk to health and limb.</p
    corecore