Protecting Human Health and Stewarding the Environment: An Essay Exploring Values in U.S. Environmental Protection Law
Vermont Law School
April 10, 2014
Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 2014
Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 8-14
In this short essay, I advocate for the continued use of human health-based standards to measure environmental pollution limits. Doing so presents several advantages. First, it builds on environmental public health research that is just now hitting its stride, as the length and depth of data sets permit more certain conclusions that in turn support evidence-based policymaking. Second, it provides a public health lens through which individual citizens may assess the value of their ethical tradeoffs: as this body of research is translated from public health analysis to individual medical practice, patients cum voters and consumers receive new information that they may act on. Finally, it provides a pragmatic way to ensure political support for environmental protection laws, as voters perceive environmental protection as part of our health and safety laws and are thereby more motivated to support them. In this way, using humans as the proverbial canaries in coal mines, we seek to ensure human health and the well-being of the larger ecosystem in which it exists.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: environmental public health law, environmental law, public health law, environmental ethics
JEL Classification: I18, K32
Date posted: April 12, 2014
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