Is the precautionary principle a sound approach to risk analysis

Tuesday, June 15, Ounce of Prevention: They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If that is true, why does the United States government dismissively permit laws and policies to go into effect that affect the health and future of its million citizens without proper precautionary investigations?

Is the precautionary principle a sound approach to risk analysis

Definitions[ edit ] Firefighters at work The Oxford English Dictionary cites the earliest use of the word in English in the spelling of risque from its from French original, 'risque' as ofand the spelling as risk from It defines risk as: Exposure to the possibility of loss, injury, or other adverse or unwelcome circumstance; a chance or situation involving such a possibility.

This definition, using project terminology, is easily made universal by removing references to projects. This concept is more properly known as the 'Expectation Value' or 'Risk Factor' and is used to compare levels of risk The probability or threat of quantifiable damage, injury, liability, loss, or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be avoided through preemptive action.

The possibility that an actual return on an investment will be lower than the expected return. A situation where the probability of a variable such as burning down of a building is known but when a mode of occurrence or the actual value of the occurrence whether the fire will occur at a particular property is not.

The probability of a loss or drop in value. Trading risk is divided into two general categories: Also called market risk. Also called non-market risk, extra-market risk or diversifiable risk. Product of the consequence and probability of a hazardous event or phenomenon.

Is the precautionary principle a sound approach to risk analysis

For example, the risk of developing cancer is estimated as the incremental probability of developing cancer over a lifetime as a result of exposure to potential carcinogens cancer-causing substances.

In this definition, uncertainties include events which may or may not happen and uncertainties caused by ambiguity or a lack of information. It also includes both negative and positive impacts on objectives.

Many definitions of risk exist in common usage, however this definition was developed by an international committee representing over 30 countries and is based on the input of several thousand subject matter experts.

Other[ edit ] Very different approaches to risk management are taken in different fields, e. Risk can be seen as relating to the probability of uncertain future events. In computer science this definition is used by The Open Group. References to negative risk below should be read as also applying to positive impacts or opportunity e.

The related terms " threat " and " hazard " are often used to mean something that could cause harm. Practice areas[ edit ] Risk is ubiquitous in all areas of life and risk management is something that we all must do, whether we are managing a major organisation or simply crossing the road.

When describing risk however, it is convenient to consider that risk practitioners operate in some specific practice areas. Economic risk[ edit ] Economic risks can be manifested in lower incomes or higher expenditures than expected.

The causes can be many, for instance, the hike in the price for raw materials, the lapsing of deadlines for construction of a new operating facility, disruptions in a production process, emergence of a serious competitor on the market, the loss of key personnel, the change of a political regime, or natural disasters.

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Health[ edit ] Risks in personal health may be reduced by primary prevention actions that decrease early causes of illness or by secondary prevention actions after a person has clearly measured clinical signs or symptoms recognised as risk factors. Tertiary prevention reduces the negative impact of an already established disease by restoring function and reducing disease-related complications.

Ethical medical practice requires careful discussion of risk factors with individual patients to obtain informed consent for secondary and tertiary prevention efforts, whereas public health efforts in primary prevention require education of the entire population at risk. In each case, careful communication about risk factors, likely outcomes and certainty must distinguish between causal events that must be decreased and associated events that may be merely consequences rather than causes.

In epidemiology, the lifetime risk of an effect is the cumulative incidencealso called incidence proportion over an entire lifetime. Health, safety, and environment HSE are separate practice areas; however, they are often linked.

Is the precautionary principle a sound approach to risk analysis

The reason for this is typically to do with organizational management structures; however, there are strong links among these disciplines. One of the strongest links between these is that a single risk event may have impacts in all three areas, albeit over differing timescales.

For example, the uncontrolled release of radiation or a toxic chemical may have immediate short-term safety consequences, more protracted health impacts, and much longer-term environmental impacts.

The Precautionary Principle: Policy and Application

Events such as Chernobyl, for example, caused immediate deaths, and in the longer term, deaths from cancers, and left a lasting environmental impact leading to birth defects, impacts on wildlife, etc. Over time, a form of risk analysis called environmental risk analysis has developed. Environmental risk analysis is a field of study that attempts to understand events and activities that bring risk to human health or the environment.

As such, risk is a function of hazard and exposure. Hazard is the intrinsic danger or harm that is posed, e. Exposure is the likely contact with that hazard.An extreme approach to the Precautionary Principle would support an open-ended evaluation of all potential hazards—even those without any indication of likelihood of harm.

scientifically driven analysis of risk leads to principled precaution. Reliable scientific evaluations of products provide risk managers a sound basis on which to.

Key Point. The purpose of the Precautionary Principle is to create an impetus to take a decision notwithstanding scientific uncertainty about the nature and extent of the risk, i.e.

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to avoid 'paralysis by analysis' by removing excuses for inaction on the grounds of scientific uncertainty. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources. Is The Precautionary Principle A Sound Approach To Risk Analysis  “When an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are .

News and analysis on Catalonia's struggle for self-determination from Green Left Weekly's European bureau. Precautionary Principle December 9, For the last several decades, American society has been guided by the ''risk analysis'' model, which assesses new technologies by trying to calculate the mathematical likelihood that they will harm the public.

There are other ways, however, to think about this problem. a different approach has.

Science & Environmental Health Network - Precautionary Principle: Essays