Influence of Ozone Depletion on the Incidence of Skin Cancer

Quantitative Prediction
  • Frank R. de Gruijl
  • Jan C. Van der Leun

Abstract

As with many environmental problems, a quantitative assessment of the biological effects of a stratospheric ozone depletion stretches science beyond the limits of directly verifiable statements. The scientist should take care not to become the modern soothsayer reading the high-tech equivalent of a goat’s entrails, providing authoritative answers to those “seeking guidance.” The prognoses may take decades to become detectable, and then the forecasted effects can be obscured by many interfering factors. The premise of céleris paribus (other things being equal) will almost surely not be met. To a skeptic such a forecasting exercise may seem scientifically futile, but it need not be if cause (ozone depletion) and effects (e.g., skin cancer) are properly monitored together with possible modifying factors (e.g., behavioral changes). Moreover, if there are data available which can be pieced together to arrive at quantitative estimates of environmental impacts, the scientist has the moral obligation to speak up and give the expected magnitudes of effects. Thus, governmental officials, administrators, and politicians are provided with the best possible information for a well-balanced environmental policy.

Keywords

Migration Mercury Europe Transportation Arsenic 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank R. de Gruijl
    • 1
  • Jan C. Van der Leun
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of DermatologyUniversity HospitalUtrechtThe Netherlands

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