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Re: risk assessment and P2

I am disappointed to hear that risk analysis my be considered to be an
"enemy" against P2.  I do consulting work in both P2 and facility risk
analysis and I consider both to be extremely powerful tools and definitely
not mutually exclusive.  In fact, in many cases my clients have taken
actions to eliminate the use of hazardous materials based on my risk
analyses or improved their systems for processing the hazardous materials to
reduce the potential impact.

Risk analysis should be a logical, un-biased tool to help us make better
decisions.  It should not be pro- or anti- P2, but capable of analyzing any
decision based on the merits of the individual case.  Unfortunately, many
risk analyses are poorly done or are done to justify a pre-determined course
of action.  In these cases, the statistics have been manipulated and the
risk analyses have not been conducted properly.  In these cases, the goal of
making better decisions has been defeated.

The use of risk analysis should not be discarded because some are using it
incorrectly or abusing it.  Our goal should be to continue to improve our
risk analysis techniques so we make better decisions.

Robert Michalowicz. P.Eng.
Chem Process & Environment Inc.
tel.  (416) 236-5377
fax  (416) 236-9355

----- Original Message -----
From: "Janet Clark" <clarkjan@turi.org>
To: <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2001 2:35 PM
Subject: 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
> If you believe something is missing, should we be doing more work in
> educating consumers, insurers, and other stakeholders about unknown risk
> 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
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