Risk Analysis and Regulatory Policy

W. Kip Viscusi

in Rational Risk Policy

Published in print March 1998 | ISBN: 9780198293637
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596995 | DOI:
 Risk Analysis and Regulatory Policy

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Analysis of carcinogen regulations implies that regulation is often not driven by the magnitude of the risk, but by whether the chemicals involved are synthetic chemicals. Risk assessments are often based on conservatism in which worst‐case scenarios are used. These biases in risk assessment are illustrated with examples from the US hazardous waste cleanup effort. The cost per life saved of US regulatory policies often exceeds any reasonable estimate of the value of life. Safety levels have improved over time, but these gains are largely attributable to greater societal wealth.

Keywords: carcinogens; conservatism; cost; hazardous waste; regulation; risk assessment; synthetic chemicals; value of life

Chapter.  7649 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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