Regulating Toxic Substances: A Philosophy of Science and the Law

Regulating Toxic Substances: A Philosophy of Science and the Law

ISBN-10:
019507436X
ISBN-13:
9780195074369
Pub. Date:
08/28/1997
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA

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Overview

Regulating Toxic Substances: A Philosophy of Science and the Law

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, yetuntil 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, env

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195074369
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 08/28/1997
Series: Environmental Ethics and Science Policy Series
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.31(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.02(d)
Lexile: 1650L (what's this?)

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