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Regulating Toxic Substances: A Philosophy of Science and the Law [NOOK Book]

Overview

The proliferation of chemical substances in commerce poses significant 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 or the environment. The philosophical problem is to determine how much scientific information we should demand for this task consistent with the pursuit of other social goals. In this book, Carl Cranor utilizes material from ethics, philosophy of ...
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Regulating Toxic Substances: A Philosophy of Science and the Law

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Overview

The proliferation of chemical substances in commerce poses significant 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 or the environment. The philosophical problem is to determine how much scientific information we should demand for this task consistent with the pursuit of other social goals. In this book, Carl Cranor utilizes material from ethics, philosophy of law, epidemiology, tort law, regulatory law, and risk assessment to argue that the evidentiary standards for science used in the 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. Analyzing this tension philosophically, Cranor argues for an appropriate balance between these social concerns. Although the use of somewhat less stringent evidentiary standards for expert testimony in tort law cases and the use of expedited procedures in the regulatory field might in some cases lead to mistakes of overcompensation or overregulation, the overall social costs would be less than the alternatives. Justice requires that we tolerate the chance of such errors and that we resist the temptation to demand the most science intensive evaluation of each substance in order to protect individuals better from mistakes of undercompensation and underregulation. The role of science in the control of toxic substances is an important public philosophical issue, yet until now has received little discussion by philosophers. Regulating Toxic Substances addresses this subject in a way that speaks both to a well-informed public and to experts in several disciplines, including philosophy, risk assessment, environmental and tort law, environmenta
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An important contribution to the interdisciplinary review of public policy, primarily in its examination of the assumptions and implications of contemporary risk assessment practices in judicial and regulatory settings."--Ethics

"The author is uniquely qualified to examine these issues....In addition to developing his own view, the author provides a wealth of historical information about how risk has been managed in our society. Highly recommended for both academics who study risk and professionals who perform and implement risk analyses."--Choice

"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

"A detailed and absorbing piece of research that demonstrates the immense practical importance of ethical theories."--Times Higher Education Supplement

"An interesting vantage point from which readers are challenged to reflect on many socially important risk management issues. For that reason, his analysis is useful and well worth careful study."--Risk: Health, Safety & Environment

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Product Details

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
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