The precautionary principle and electric and magnetic fields

D. Jamieson, D. Wartenberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Current environmental regulation represents a paternalistic policy, more concerned to avoid false positives than false negatives, limiting opportunities for individuals to make choices between risk-avoidance and risk-taking alternatives. For example, many exposures to magnetic fields could be reduced at little or no cost but are not considered seriously, owing to the uncertainty of risk and the concern to avoid false positives. Even though precautionary approaches that focus on avoiding false negatives often do not lead to adverse economic consequences or irrational choices, such approaches usually are not taken. The value of autonomy and the proper role of governmental paternalism with respect to environmental policy need to be considered more carefully in environmental decision making.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1355-1358
    Number of pages4
    JournalAmerican journal of public health
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - 2001

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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