Consumerism today affects the operation of the American social and political system, challenging the Congress with new problems that delve deep into science and technology. At stake is the development of means for crossing the “transscientific” interface where matters of science end and matters of public policy begin.
This book and its companion volume review the incorporation of public health and environmental concerns into national policies for regulating consumer products. Throughout, a distinction is made between statutory guidelines and administrative regulatory practices. It presents several case studies that suggest the range of consumer problems facing the Congress and that describe the influence of the congressional committee structure on resultant statutory policies. Chapters review the nature of potential hazards and the sources of legislative initiatives for dealing with these problems, summarize the federal statutory authority, and note the effectiveness of the executive branch's administration of regulatory programs.
The editors emphasize the Congress's recognition of the need for assessing in advance the potential adverse public health and environmental effects of consumer products. They also stress issues of science policy in order to better define the unique roles that the scientist, engineer, political scientist, consumer advocate, politician, and industrialist can serve in the formulation of constructive federal statutory policies.
Legislative Approaches to Balancing Risks and Benefits in the Regulation of Chemicals, Richard A. Carpenter • Public Health Hazards from Chemicals in Consumer Products, Samuel S. Epstein • Toxic Substances, Richard D. Grundy, Hanno C. Weisbrod, and Samuel S. Epstein • Consumer Radiation Exposures: Electronic Products, Richard D. Grundy • Consumer Radiologic Services, Richard D. Grundy