In a new paper published in BioScience, Portland State University researchers contend that these failures result from the flawed governance over the continued production, use and disposal of toxic chemicals, and lay out a plan for improved policies.
"We keep trying to mitigate, but it hasn't been working for 40 years," said Zbigniew Grabowski, one of the authors and a recent graduate of PSU's Earth, Environment and Society doctoral program. "We should push for something more visionary -- we need a policy framework that goes beyond permitting allowable levels of toxic risk by seeking to eliminate and replace them."
Investments - Consequences - Substances - Ways - Goods
He said investments need to be made into not only investigating the consequences of toxic substances, but more importantly, finding alternative ways of producing goods and services that don't generate those toxic substances.
"You could spend multiple careers trying to assess the public costs of toxic lead in drinking water, but why not work in the same lifetime on figuring out how to produce water systems that don't make people sick?" Grabowski said.
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