- Risk Analysis and Public Perceptions of Risk
DOI link for - Risk Analysis and Public Perceptions of Risk
- Risk Analysis and Public Perceptions of Risk book
As noted in the opening page of Chapter 1, the American Chemical Society adds about 4000 new chemicals every day to the roughly 60 million already on its registry. It is estimated that between 60,000 and 70,000 industrial and commercial chemicals are currently in use in North America; a number that doubtless is already out of date. The (U.S.) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists over 10,000 chemicals it considers to be hazardous as of 2011. Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act the Toxic Substance List contains only 120 chemicals, but this list is more akin to a controlled substance list. It should be obvious that only a very small portion of these have been studied sufciently to conduct any sort of risk assessment regarding human health, and such studies use, characteristically, only one route of administration (portal of entry). Not only do the sheer numbers overwhelm any chance of conducting comprehensive toxicity testing, but the system itself is felt to be outdated with large gaps in the safety net to protect the consumer. The public seems unwilling to give up the advantages accruing from such chemicals (plastics, pesticides, petroleum fuels, etc.) but also it is increasingly vociferous in its demands to be protected from any adverse effects arising from their use. In 2011 several U.S. senators introduced a bill to Congress, the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2011,” designed to overhaul the aging Toxic Substances Control Act. A key feature is that it would require “basic health and safety information for all chemicals as a condition for entering or remaining on the market.” The reader can be forgiven for experiencing shock that this requirement is not already in place. As of April 2012, the Act had not been put to vote.