Characterizing epistemic perspectives of relevance for chemicals management

Contact: Georgia Green

Project overview
Chemicals management relies heavily on expert advice, but experts are divided on how to best assess the risk posed by chemicals to humans and the environment. Recent studies suggest that this is in part due to that different experts view certain types of evidence as more important than others and disagree on what methods should be used to investigate the impacts of chemical pollutant exposure (Clahsen et al., 2019, 2020; McIlroy‐Young et al., 2021a; Mcllroy-Young et al., 2021b). These diverging views on what experts consider valid evidence are termed epistemic perspectives for this study.

There is currently no systematic method that allows the identification of epistemic perspectives of relevance for chemicals management. This study aims to develop a method that identifies and characterizes epistemic perspectives relevant to the evaluation of potentially harmful chemicals. The broader goal is to support the development of a chemical risk evaluation process that is more transparent and accountable and to pave the way for more holistic and transparent chemicals management that considers a plurality of relevant scientific perspectives.



Clahsen, S. C. S., van Kamp, I., Hakkert, B. C., Vermeire, T. G., Piersma, A. H., & Lebret, E. (2019). Why Do Countries Regulate Environmental Health Risks Differently? A Theoretical Perspective: Why Do Countries Regulate Environmental Health Risks Differently? Risk Analysis, 39(2), 439–461.

McIlroy‐Young, B., Leopold, A., & Öberg, G. (2021a). SCIENCE, CONSENSUS, AND ENDOCRINE‐DISRUPTING CHEMICALS: RETHINKING DISAGREEMENT IN EXPERT DELIBERATIONS. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 17(2), 480–481.

Mcllroy-Young, B., Oberg, G., & Leopold, A. (2021b). The manufacturing of consensus: A struggle for epistemic authority in chemical risk evaluation.