Regulating Toxic Substances: A Philosophy of Science and the Law / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 97%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $25.56   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   


The proliferation of chemical substances in commerce poses scientific and philosophical problems. The scientific challenge is to develop data, methodologies, and techniques for identifying and assessing toxic substances before they cause harm to human beings and the environment. The philosophical problem is how much scientific information we should demand for this task consistent with other social goals we might have. In this book, Cranor utilizes material from ethics, philosophy of law, epidemiology, tort law, regulatory law, and risk assessment, to argue that the scientific evidential standards used in tort law and administrative law to control toxics ought to be evaluated with the purposes of the law in mind. Demanding too much for this purpose will slow the evaluation and lead to an excess of toxic substances left unidentified and unassessed, thus leaving the public at risk. Demanding too little may impose other costs. An appropriate balance between these social concerns must be found. Justice requires we use evidentiary standards more appropriate to the legal institutions in question and resist the temptation to demand the most intensive scientific evaluation of each substance subject to legal action.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Strong in its analysis of science, law, and philosophy, Cranor compellingly demonstrates that the amount of science required in public decisions about toxic substances is an important philosophical issue. This book should both help clarify the debate about toxic substance and restore ethical reasoning to its central place of importance in public discourse about the hazards of toxic substances."—Environmental Law Forum
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195113785
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1997
  • Series: Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Assessing Toxic Substances Through a Glass Darkly 3
1 The Scientific Background 12
Predicting Risks from Animal Bioassays 13
Background 13
Regulatory Science and Policy Choices 15
Normative Implications of the Scientific Uncertainties in Risk Assessment 25
Problems in the Statistics of Human Epidemiological Studies and Animal Bioassays 29
Discovering Risks 29
Practical Evidence-Gathering Problems 30
Theoretical Difficulties 31
Traditional Practices in Interpreting Epidemiological Studies 39
An Alternative to Traditional Practices 40
Clean Hands Science, Dirty Hands Public Policy 40
Professional Ethics 42
Public Policy Issues 44
2 Scientific Evidence in the Tort Law 49
Institutional Background 49
The Challenge to Present Evidentiary Procedures 55
Legal Issues 57
Arguments for the Scientific Standards Test 60
Arguments Against Competitor Views 60
Black's Proposal 66
A Common Conceptual Framework for Evaluating Scientific and Legal Burdens of Proof 71
An Alternative View 78
3 Joint Causation, Torts, and Administrative Law in Environmental Health Protections 83
Joint Causation and the Tort Law 85
Liability Rules for Causation 85
Proof of Causation 90
Administrative Law 91
No Moral or Policy Bars to Regulation when Joint Causation Obtains 91
The Case for Regulation of Toxic Substances when Joint Causation Obtains 94
Utilitarian Arguments 95
Justice Arguments 97
Other Considerations for Using Administrative Remedies 99
4 Scientific Procedures in Regulatory Agencies 103
Institutional Background 104
Major Laws Regulating Carcinogens 104
Premarket Regulatory Statutes 104
Postmarket Regulatory Statutes 105
Procedural Requirements 107
Substantive Statutory Requirements 107
Approaches to Risk Assessment in Regulatory Agencies 109
A Brief History of Agency Use of Risk Assessment 109
Current Agency Risk Assessment Practices 113
Two Unacceptable Approaches to Risk Assessment 115
The Complete and Accurate Science Approach 116
The Science-Intensive Approach 116
Shortcomings of Present and Recommended Practices 129
An Alternative Approach 131
Coping with Scientific Uncertainty 131
Mitigating the Demanding Evidentiary Standards of Science 135
Expediting Risk Assessment 137
Use of Tabulated TD[subscript 50]s for Most Sensitive Sites and Species 138
Use of Expedited Linearized Multistage Default Procedures 141
The Virtues of Expedited Procedures 141
Making Public Policy on Expedited Risk Assessments Through the Agencies and Courts 147
5 Epistemic and Moral Justification 152
Epistemic Justification 153
Moral Justification 157
Principles Implicit in the Occupational Safety and Health Act 160
Philosophical Theories of Distribution 163
Utilitarianism 163
The Daniels-Rawls Theory of Health Care Protection 168
The Attraction of Distributively Sensitive Theories 175
Notes 179
Appendix A Uncertainties in Carcinogen Risk Assessments 221
Appendix B Cancer Potency Estimates of CDHS and EPA 222
Appendix C Relative Risk as a Function of Alpha and Beta Values 225
Appendix D Statutes Authorizing Regulation of Carcinogens 229
Appendix E Derivation of TD[subscript 50] Potency Values 230
Bibliography 231
Index 243
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)