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Risk Analysis in the United States Law: Cost Versus Risk

  • P. Ricci
  • L. Molton
Part of the Advances in Risk Analysis book series (AIRA, volume 2)

Abstract

The evaluation of health risks is characterized by policy judgments which in the United States often lead to judicial review. Those judgments are buttressed by scientific determination of whether a substance will produce adverse health effects or whether a low probability event will have a large consequence, given that it occurs. Science is not able to provide answers with the certainty that the courts have been accustomed to deal with in other areas. “Transcientific” questions abound; answers are often provided by fiat. Thus, whoever bears the burden of proof faces considerable difficulty in showing that an adverse effect is not likely to occur. We analyze two recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, and other decisions, to establish what burden of proof and what balancing of costs and benefits are required under the law. We conclude that decision makers and the courts are troubled by the uncertainty surrounding risk assessments. Nevertheless, risk assessment provides information of fundamental importance for those making decisions involving public and occupational health.

Keywords

Coke Oven Judicial Review American Petroleum Institute Lower Court Benzene Exposure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Ricci
    • 1
  • L. Molton
    • 2
  1. 1.Electric Power Research InstitutePalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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