Risk Assessment and Public Policy

by Paul D. Casowitz, NYC Dep of Sanitation, New York, NY, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Dioxin and Resource Recovery


A governmental official charged with making solid waste policy should be careful not to allow the public policy issue to be defined as the determination of the acceptable level of risk from dioxin or any other pollutant for that matter. For regardless of what number risk assessment attaches to the risk of dioxin exposure, he must still dispose of the garbage. The 'public policy objective' is to develop solutions to the waste disposal problem. While an assessment of the risk of dioxin from waste incineration may be relevant to the selection of prudent alternatives, that assessment must be evaluated in the context of the overall policy objective. This paper discusses the need for proper risk assessment needed to ensure proper environmental policy in spite of a present lack of sufficient data.

Subject Headings: Risk management | Public health and safety | Public policy | Solid wastes | Waste disposal | Solid mechanics | Public opinions | Legislation

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