By Kenneth J. Arrow

This primer highlights either the strengths and the restrictions of benefit-cost research within the improvement, layout, and implementation of regulatory reform.

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Extra info for Benefit-Cost Analysis in Environmental, Health, and Safety Regulation

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Is not sufficient to safeguard the public’s health for the reason that industry’s financial interests often prevent it from doing what would be socially responsible” (Markowitz & Rosner 2002: 3). Advocating for Environmental Health and Justice To answer the question of why some communities are more affected by some disease, NIEHS must continue to assess the degree to which environmental exposures disproportionately impact specific communities, to understand the effects of multiple and cumulative exposures, and ultimately what types of intervention will effectively reduce those disparities in health burdens.

In the words of a former scientific director of the NIEHS: the key thing about environmental agents is that they show no disease boundaries, so the same chemical that causes cancer could also cause pulmonary disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. So one of the challenges to environmental health sciences is really to be able to look at all of these different diseases. We don’t have the luxury of just studying cancer. Obviously we have a big institute that just studies cancer [NCI], but they [NIEHS] have to deal with cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and pulmonary diseases and kidney diseases (Barrett, Oral History Interview February 2004).

23 Broadly speaking, risk assessment has four stages: (1) hazard identification—the determination of whether a substance is linked to a particular human health or environmental effect; (2) dose response—the estimation of the relationship between exposure and its potential effects on health; (3) exposure assessment—assessment of the source of pollution, the nature of migration from the source, and the location of people relative to it; and (4) risk characterization—a synthesis of the previous three steps and the uncertainties therein (Corburn 2005: 85–87; see also NRC 1983).

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