Keeping Cool About Risk

Alar on apples, radon in homes, asbestos in schools. the U.S. appears to ricochet from one environmental crisis to another, with the result that policy aimed at reducing risks to human health frequently appears to make little economic or scientific sense. Even some environmentalists concur that decisions to rip asbestos out of school buildings were probably ill considered. In many cases, sealing the dangerous fibers in place would have provided a more prudent and less costly remedy. Similarly, while no one denies that homes with high levels of radon pose a health hazard requiring prompt attention, what about houses with much...

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