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Value Assumptions in Risk Assessment

A Case Study of the Alachlor Controversy

By Conrad G. Brunk, Lawrence Haworth, and Brenda Lee
Subjects Philosophy, Environmental Studies, Ethics
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Paperback : 9780889202665, 166 pages, September 1995
Ebook (PDF) : 9780889208735, 166 pages, January 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Value Assumptions in Risk Assessment: A Case Study of the Alachlor Controversy, by Conrad G. Brunk, Lawrence Haworth, and Brenda Lee


Introduction: Risk Assessment as Regulatory Science

I. The Alachlor Controversy

II. An Alternative Model of Risk Assessment

III. The Arguments of the Government and Monsanto

IV. The Alachlor Review Board’s Estimation of Alachlor’s Risks

V. The Role of Values in Choice of a Risk-Benefit Standard

VI. Value Frameworks in Risk Analysis




Selected by Choice as one of the outstanding publications for 1991.

Are risk debates disputes between those who accept the findings of science and those who do not? Between good and bad science? Or is it possible that opposing assessments of risk, by scientific experts as well as ordinary citizens, reflect and are guided by dominant values held by the assessors? The following analysis of one of these debates supports the latter view. In it we suggest what those dominant values are, how they work within a risk assessment, and some implications of reconceiving risk debates as primarily debates about values.


  • Commended, Outstanding Academic Title, Choice 1991


"Any of us who have been involved in decision-making processes that involve risk assessment will immediately recognize the similarities between this example and our own experiences. It is very valuable to have this illuminating case study so thoroughly presented to us. "

- John Jackson, Alternatives, Vol. 19, No. 2, 1993

"Highly recommended for college and university libraries, and for technology-based entrepreneurs and their regulators. "

- T.R. Blackburn, Choice