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Risk versus Hazard – How to Regulate in the 21st Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Extract

In Europe, debate as to whether one should regulate chemicals based on intrinsic hazard or assessment of risk, or possibly a combination of both, has been gaining momentum. This article first provides a brief history of this risk versus hazard debate. Secondly, it examines how European regulators are currently handling the regulation of two chemical compounds, namely Bisphenol A and Deca BDE (a brominated flame retardant), based on forty-five expert interviews with regulators, policy makers and industry representatives in eight Member States, as well as with European Commission officials. The paper shows that there is no clear consensus as to when risk or hazard considerations should be the basis for regulatory decision-making, with wide discrepancies between Member States (e.g. the UK is overall more risk based than Sweden) and between regulatory agencies within Member States. The penultimate section puts forward a series of recommendations to help regulators and policy makers develop more consistent and science based regulations for Europe.

Type
Symposium on Risk versus Hazard
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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174 An alternative approach would be to clarify the scope and applicability of the precautionary principle by way of legislation. Indeed, there is an increasing body of case law defining the procedural and factual boundaries of having recourse to that principle. Marchant and Mossman's book, “Arbitrary and Capricious”, supra note 172, is one such attempt in examining how the European Courts have interpreted the principle.

175 Hamburg, M., “Advancing Regulatory Science”, 331 Science (25 February 2011), p. 987 CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed.

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