Allocating Pollution

65 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2011 Last revised: 2 Nov 2012

See all articles by Arden Rowell

Arden Rowell

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: January 6, 2012


This paper deconstructs the relationship between harm and pollution, and argues that understanding this relationship creates valuable opportunities for improving environmental policy by minimizing or even eliminating the harm from some pollutants, even when reducing the total amount of pollution is impractical or impossible. The key is to match up legal tools that affect what this paper calls "exposure allocation" - or the way in which exposure to a pollutant is allocated across a population - with the toxicological characteristics of each pollutant. After identifying the conditions under which changing exposure allocations would improve health and save lives, this paper identifies legal strategies for managing exposure allocation, and identifies places where regulatory policy can shift to accommodate life-saving arbitrage techniques.

Keywords: environmental regulation, exposure allocation, pollution control, dose-response, hormetic, biphasic, risk assessment, risk analysis, risk management, cost-benefit analysis

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K23, K32

Suggested Citation

Rowell, Arden, Allocating Pollution (January 6, 2012). University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 79, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Arden Rowell (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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