Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 2 Issue 3 (September 1994), Pages 123-186

Assessing Environmental Risks: Lessons From Superfund (pages 136-145)

This essay analyzes the use of risk assessment in Superfund, the controversial American hazardous waste cleanup programme. We argue that risk assessment has been used in three ways in discussing policy options in this programme: as a metric for assessing performance; as a means for resolving conflicts; and as a tool for comparing different environmental initiatives. Use of risk reduction as an analytical tool in European efforts to clean up hazardous waste sites is discussed. We conclude that while risk assessment has potential utility for each of these applications, there are also accompanying technical and political difficulties.

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