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Environmental health encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect human health, such as radiation, toxic chemicals and other hazardous agents. It is often assumed that the assessment part is just a matter of scientific research, and the control part a matter of implementing standards which unambiguously follow from that research. However, it is less commonly understood that environmental health also requires addressing questions of an ethical nature.
This book addresses how we can determine the "acceptable" risk level for the general population or for certain groups and how different types of risks – for instance, economic and health risks – can be compared. It argues that the ethical concepts tacitly assumed in environmental health need to be made explicit, critically reviewed and, to some extent at least, developed further. It also discusses the ethical implications of science and technology and the application of research results in regulation and practice in the 2nd International Symposium on Ethics of Environmental Health held in the Czech Republic.