The Precautionary Principle in the 20th Century - late lessons from early warnings

Edited by Paul Harremoes, David Gee, Malcom MacGarvin, Andy Stirling, Jane Keys, Brian Wynne and Sofia Guedes Vaz 
Earthscan  March 2002  

Hardback  280 pp  ISBN 9781853838927      £90.00
From the European Environment Agency, part of the Risk, Society and Policy Series

The "precautionary principle" is widely seen as fundamental to successful policies for sustainability. It has been cited in international courts and trade disputes between the USA and the EU, and invoked in a growing range of political debates. Understanding what it can and cannot achieve is therefore crucial. This volume looks back over the last century to examine the role the "principle" played or could have played, in a range of major and avoidable public disasters. From detailed investigation of how each disaster unfolded, what the impacts were and what measures were adopted, the authors draw lessons and establish criteria that could help to minimise the health and environmental risks of future technological, economic and policy innovations. This is an informative resource for all those from lawyers and policy-makers, to researchers and students needing to understand or apply the "principle".


  • Introduction
  • Fisheries: Taking Stock
  • Radiation: Late Warnings, Early Effects
  • Benzene: Occupational Settings and Asbestos: From Magic to Malign
  • PCBs and the Precautionary Principle
  • Halocarbons, the Ozone Layer and the PP
  • The DES Story: Consequences of Prenatal Exposure
  • Antimicrobials as Growth Promoters: Common Sense?
  • Sulphur Dioxide: Lungs and Lakes
  • MTBE in Petrol
  • Great Lakes Contamination: Early Warnings
  • TBT Antifoulants: Ships, Snails and Imposex
  • Hormones as Growth Promoters: Precaution or Politics?
  • 'Mad Cow Disease': Complacency and Catastrophe
  • Twelve Late Lessons
  • Conclusions
  • Index
To find similar publications, click on a keyword below:
Earthscan : Precautionary Principle, The : atmosphere and air pollution : environmental science : fish : human health

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