Sanne H. Knudsen, Regulating Cumulative Risk, 101 Minn. L. Rev. 2313 (2017), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/324
Minnesota Law Review
This Article proceeds in four parts. Part I describes how cumulative risk assessments tackle the real-world exposure problems that lie at the heart of public health. It shows how risk science has evolved and why policy, not science, lags behind. Part II then examines why key public health concerns cannot be answered through information disclosure or consumer choice models alone.
Having established that regulatory drivers are needed, Part III begins to examine how to move forward. It does so by looking backward and examining how TSCA and FIFRA have failed historically to provide this critical public health focus despite room in their statutory frameworks. It explores both theoretical and implementation gaps, showing how gaps in the legal frameworks are strikingly disconnected from the risk science literature. Importantly, understanding these gaps will provide critical insights for how to avoid similar pitfalls under the newly enacted Chemical Safety Act.
Finally, Part IV offers a path forward by suggesting where current regulatory frameworks could support a cumulative risk lens. In particular, Part IV considers how the existing safety standards under the newly reformed Chemicals Safety Act and FIFRA—both of which center on a threshold of "unreasonable risk"—can internalize issues of cumulative risk. In the end, it may well be that assessing cumulative risk is not only permissible under the regulatory frameworks, but also indispensable to rational decision-making.