June 01, 2010
Chemicals are central to our lives. Industries profit from their manufacture and use. Consumers benefit from products that contain materials derived from chemicals or that contain the chemicals themselves.
Employees benefit from the wages dependant on their manufacture and use. The environment, too, can benefit if a safe chemical is substituted for one that is harmful. At the same time, those who are exposed to chemicals, either occupationally or through consumer products, will want to know that those exposures are below thresholds that pose significant risk to themselves or the environments in which they live. There is sufficient history to justify this concern.
Finding the balance between costs of all kinds and benefits of all kinds is a continuing challenge. Meeting it requires understanding – and understanding in turn requires data and knowledge.