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US Environmental Policy-Making Framework is Dysfunctional, says
Cap AP, The chlorine controversy. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 68
(6): 455-458 (1996)
Environmental groups have called for a phaseout of the use of chlorine
in industrial chemistry on the grounds that such use inevitably
leads to the production of persistent, bioaccumulative toxins. This
policy prescription is based on an application of the Precautionary
Principle which holds that industry should demonstrate that its
products and processes are safe before allowing releases of product
or waste into the environment. The chemical industry has rejected the
call to phaseout chlorine, and claims that available data on either
the environmental exposure pathways or the toxicology of chlorinated
compounds are inadequate to support responsible decision-making.
Industry leaders have called for environmental policy to be based on
sound science, comparative risk assessment, and cost-benefit
analysis. The controversy over chlorine shows that the U.S.
environmental policy-making framework may no longer be capable of
producing solutions to environmental problems that satisfy important
constituencies within our society.
[ Cap is with the Technology and Policy Program, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA.]
P.O. Box 548, or 512 CR 2663
Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632 USA