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Understanding the mismatch between the demands of risk assessment and practice of scientists - the case of Deca-BDE.

Alcock, Ruth E. and MacGillivray, Brian H. and Busby, Jeremy (2011) Understanding the mismatch between the demands of risk assessment and practice of scientists - the case of Deca-BDE. Environment International, 37 (1). pp. 216-225. ISSN 0160-4120

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Abstract

This review describes how a mismatch between the knowledge produced by scientists and the evidence demanded by regulators has emerged, and how society has struggled to find definitive answers to questions of safety, for an important flame retardant chemical in current use — Deca-BDE. This has involved two key disciplines: analytical chemistry and toxicology. Within the chemistry, a lack of standardized methodologies among scientists has resulted in a persistent yet largely undeclared failure to replicate results within the discipline. Within the toxicology, the quest for innovative, curiosity-driven research by university scientists in preference to using validated standard protocols, designed to promote consistency within the risk assessment process, has prompted questions about the credibility and relevance of scientific findings. Yet scientific laboratories have compelling reasons to do things the way they do in the cause of producing new knowledge, pointing to a sustained gap between the aims and practices of research scientists and those of risk management. A more rigorous scientific process that treats different elements of input data as discrete pieces of evidence is needed to ensure that science rather than politics will always define chemical safety.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Environment International
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chemical risk management ; PBDE ; Deca-BDE ; Risk assessment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 33577
Deposited By: Dr Ruth Alcock
Deposited On: 08 Jun 2010 09:53
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2013 20:11
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/33577

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