Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Our good friend Clif Curtis who runs WWF's Toxic programme has sent us the following comment to our piece from yesterday on their blood sampling programme:
The biomonitoring is not to say that those chemicals necessarily are all harmful, though based on journal studies we know most of them are. The focus is on showing that we are all contaminated, and we need to have much better data, publicly available, on the fates and efffects of such substances. If there is not conclusive evidence, as you well know, then precaution provides the hook for action. So precaution plays a key role. That said, in the context of chemicals, the precautionary principle responds to a) the complexity of environmental health problems, b) the paucity of information and subsequent uncertainty about cause-effect relationships, and c) the slow pace of government decision making. At its core, the principle calls for preventive, anticipatory measures to be taken when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment, wildlife, or human health, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientically. Thus and therefore, the precautionary principle is very relevant.