Date of Original Version
Environmental Health Perspectives , Vol. 62, (Oct., 1985), pp. 359-363
Abstract or Table of Contents
Environmental health regulation has been developed on the premise that both problems and solutions are obvious, requiring only attention and commitment. The result has been impossible legislative goals and frenetic, unfocused agency efforts to deal with too many issues. Preventing all environmental health problems is impossible and not the best approach; instead, attention ought to be shifted toward reacting quickly to problems before irreversible, severe health damage has occurred. Rather than having regulatory agencies attempt to manage all problems, they should be focused on exemplifying goals and productive approaches, and on handling a few major issues. Regulatory agencies should be managing the nonregulatory institutions to ensure that they are effective in dealing with the myriad issues that the agencies will never be able to handle. The inherent limitations of federal regulatory agencies must be recognized to restructure environmental health management to be more effective in lowering risks while being efficient, administratively simple, and more equitable.