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risk assessment and P2

Hi P2techies,

I would like to ask if there is a way we can talk about how statistical
manipulation affects our work in P2. It may be that this message should be
on the P2policy list, but I think this technical list has the specific,
grounded expertise needed for these questions. I will move offlist with
this topic if asked.

Here is the question: In the battle between p2 and continued use of toxins
-- which takes place in academia, government, trade associations,
facilities and communities -- do you accept decisions largely based on
existing risk studies?  Risk analysis has not prevented alien chemicals in
our bodies, and doesn't seem to address unknowns such as hormonal,
accumulative, synergistic, immune suppressing, vulnerable population, and
second generational effects. 

P2 advocates continuous improvement, but companies move slowly and justify
this with acceptable risk numbers in their cost benefit analysis of
alternatives.  These "qualified" numbers get an undeserved life of their own. 

If you believe something is missing, should we be doing more work in
educating consumers, insurers, and other stakeholders about unknown risk to
surface a more cautious approach to decisionmaking?  Our local media is
reluctant to carry anything about P2. Is the media responsible for our
nation's less progressive perspective on toxic risk than the European
community? What are your strategies for getting news coverage?

Janet Clark <clarkjan@turi.org>
Associate Director for Information
MA Toxics Use Reduction Institute
University of Massachusetts
One University Ave.
Lowell, MA  01854-2866
Tel 978-934-3346, Fax 978-934-3050