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  • 1. Breitholtz, Magnus
    et al.
    Eriksson, Johan
    Green, Nicholas
    Rudén, Christina
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy.
    Testing and risk assessment of persistent and bioaccumulating chemical substances - Improvements within REACH?2006In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 782-805Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the proposed new European chemicals regulations - the REACH system - the improved control of persistent and bioaccumulating substances is stated as one of the tasks being of particular importance. In this article, the reliability and validity of the scientific basis for identification of persistent ( P), bioaccumulating ( B), and toxic ( T) substances, and for assessing the risks that these substances may pose, are discussed. We have used the European Union risk assessment of pentabromodiphenyl ether, PentaBDE ( CAS 32534-81-9) as a study case in the analysis. It is concluded that for PBT substances there is room for development both with regard to test methodology and with regard to risk assessment procedures.

  • 2.
    Ding, Qian
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
    Schenk, Linda
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
    Hansson, Sven Ove
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
    Setting Risk-Based Occupational Exposure Limits for Non-Threshold Carcinogens2014In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 20, no 5, p. 1329-1344Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Several regulators have recently issued so-called risk-based occupational exposure limits for carcinogenic substances, and also reported estimates of the risk of fatality that exposure to the limit value would give rise to. This practice provides an opportunity to study how differences in the exposure limits set by different regulators are influenced by differences in the scientific judgment (what is the risk at different levels?) and in the policy judgment (how should large risks be accepted?). Based on a broad search, a list was compiled of exposure limits for carcinogens that the respective regulator associates with a numerical risk estimate. For benzene, such data was available from six regulators. The differences in estimates of the risk/exposure relationship and in risk tolerance were about equal in size for benzene, while the range for acceptability was somewhat wider. A similar pattern was observed, although less clearly, for substances with data from only two or three regulators. It is concluded that the science factor and the policy factor both contribute to differences in exposure limits for carcinogens. It was not possible to judge which of these two factors has the larger influence.

  • 3.
    Ekane, Nelson
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies. Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden.
    Mertz, C. K.
    Slovic, C.
    Kjellén, M.
    Westlund, Hans
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies.
    Risk and benefit judgment of excreta as fertilizer in agriculture: An exploratory investigation in Rwanda and Uganda2016In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 22, no 3, p. 639-666Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This research explores the use of psychometric techniques to improve understanding of psychological mechanisms underlying judgment of excreta as fertilizer in agriculture including other excreta related activities. Participants consisted of environmental health students, smallholder farmers and traders in rural and urban Rwanda and Uganda. The finding reveals an inverse relationship between risk and benefit judgments. This relationship holds for the three groups of participants with significant risk-benefit correlations of p<.0001. This finding is consistent with other studies showing that affect plays a key role in risk perception, judgment and decision making.Building on this finding, we conclude that individuals with high risk and low benefit judgment for excreta related practices would eschew them or emphasize strict standards. Individuals with a high benefit and low risk judgment would engage in excreta management practices regardless of the actual risks involved. This finding is relevant for risk communication and risk management as it indicates that individuals do not rely only on risk management information they receive concerning excreta and related risks but also depend to an extent on their feelings about these substances when making judgments and decisions regarding the purpose for using excreta as fertilizer and the level of exposure they can tolerate and manage.

  • 4.
    Hansson, Sven Ove
    KTH, Superseded Departments, History of Science and Technology.
    Choosing priority-setting criteria for carcinogens2001In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 7, no 3, p. 475-491Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    For priority-setting purposes, simple criteria are needed to estimate, provisionally, the inherent properties of potential carcinogens for which adequate data are not available. Expected utility analysis is used to evaluate three such criteria from a decision-theoretic point of view: (1) the species criterion, which assigns lower priority to experimental than to epidemiological carcinogens, (2) the genotoxicity criterion, which prioritizes substances known to be genotoxic, and (3) the potency criterion, which apportions priorities according to carcinogenic potencies that are derived from animal experiments. The outcome of this analysis is favorable to the potency criterion. It is concluded that considerations of potency should have a much more prominent role than what they have in current regulatory practice.

  • 5.
    Levin, Rikard
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy.
    Adequacy conditions for reporting uncertainty in chemical risk assessments2006In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 12, no 5, p. 834-855Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Uncertainty may influence decision-making. A prerequisite for a decision to be well founded is thus that scientific experts inform decision-makers about all decision relevant uncertainty. A set of conditions is provided for adequate characterization of scientific uncertainty for the purposes of regulatory decision-making. These conditions require specification of (1) the character and degree of uncertainty about the assessment variables, (2) the possibility of reducing the uncertainty, and (3) the degree of agreement among experts. Furthermore, it is required that (4) the information covered by the previous conditions is presented in a clear and comprehensible way. The point of departure is that characterizing scientific uncertainty conceptually means specifying all potentially important possibilities that are consistent with the state of scientific knowledge. The conditions are intended to be applied to human health risk assessment of chemicals. However, the basic approach, to consider potentially important possibilities, should be useful also to environmental, and site-specific risk assessment.

  • 6. Sandin, P.
    et al.
    Hansson, Sven Ove
    KTH, Superseded Departments, History of Science and Technology.
    The default value approach to the precautionary principle2002In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 8, no 3, p. 463-471Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In science, when information is lacking, the reasonable response is to suspend judgement. When incomplete scientific information is to be used for decision-making purposes, such as regulation, the option of suspending judgement is not available. In such situations the precautionary principle may be used. One of several problems with the precautionary principle is that it is poorly defined and difficult to operationalize. We propose a way of operationalizing the precautionary principle through assigning cautious default values to variables that are needed in the risk analysis but are nevertheless unknown. A formalized model is introduced, in which the precautionary principle is interpreted in terms of default values of chemicals regulation. Four different methods for choosing default values (positive list, negative list, statistical expectation, and precaution) are discussed.

  • 7.
    Sandin, Per
    et al.
    KTH, Superseded Departments, Infrastructure.
    Bengtsson, B. E.
    Bergman, A.
    Brandt, I.
    Dencker, L.
    Eriksson, P.
    Forlin, L.
    Larsson, P.
    Oskarsson, A.
    Rudén, Christina
    KTH, Superseded Departments, Infrastructure.
    Sodergren, A.
    Woin, P.
    Hansson, Sven Ove
    KTH, Superseded Departments, Infrastructure.
    Precautionary defaults - A new strategy for chemical risk management2004In: Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, ISSN 1080-7039, E-ISSN 1549-7860, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 1-18Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In order to give adequate support to risk managers, new risk assessment methods should be developed that are (1) scientifically sound, (2) simplified, and (3) suited for precautionary risk management. In this Perspective we propose that the notion of a precautionary default can be a useful tool in the development of such methods. A precautionary default is a cautious or pessimistic assumption that is used in the absence of adequate information and that should be replaced when such information is obtained. Furthermore, we point out some promising research areas for the development of such indicators, viz. connections between chemical characteristics such as persistence and effect parameters, monitoring of contaminants in polar regions, monitoring of contaminants in breast milk, application of results from (human) toxicology in ecotoxicology and vice versa, (eco) toxicological test systems that are sensitive to effects on reproduction, and the application of bioinformatic methods to complex data, both in genomic research and in ecotoxicology. We conclude that precautionary decision-making does not require less science, but to the contrary it requires more science and improved communication between scientists and risk managers.

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