Precautionary approaches to the appraisal of risk: a case study of a genetically modified crop.

Stirling, A and Mayer, S (2000) Precautionary approaches to the appraisal of risk: a case study of a genetically modified crop. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 6 (4). pp. 342-357. ISSN 10773525

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There are strong scientific reasons for holding the broader scope of precautionary approaches to be more consistent with the scientific foundations of rational choice and probability theory than are conventional narrow risk-assessment techniques. The imperatives both of science and precaution can be seen to pull in the same direction. The regulatory appraisal of risk should become more systematic and broader in scope. In particular, a set of criteria can be developed concerning the need for greater humility, completeness, transparency, and participation in regulatory appraisal, with specific attention to the comparison of different options (including mixtures of options), the consideration of benefits and justifications, and the systematic 'mapping' of the ways in which different framing assumptions lead to different pictures of performance. A case study of a pilot exercise applying a multi-criteria mapping method to the regulatory appraisal of a genetically modified crop is reported. The results are more complete than orthodox risk assessment, in that they embody consideration of an unlimited array of issues and include consideration of a wide range of different strategic alternatives to the use of GM technologies. It is concluded that conventional regulatory appraisal might be adapted to better address the imperatives of both science and precaution.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Andrew Stirling
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:56
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2012 11:39
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