The precautionary principle and pesticides

In 1998, Greenpeace, Natuur en Milieu(Nature and Environment), Milieudefensie(Environmental Defense), and the National ConsumersUnion presented a report about the possible risks andhazards associated with pesticide residues on fruitsand vegetables. Although these organizationsexplicitly denied having unassailable evidence on theharmful effects of pesticides, they claimed that bynow there are sufficient indications that pesticidesmay indeed lead to such health hazards. They used anappeal to the so-called precautionary principle tounderpin their claims. The committee officially incharge of deciding on the admission of pesticidesaccused the organizations of scaremongering. Afterdistinguishing three possible versions of theprecautionary principle, we then show that the fourorganizations used in their campaign an improperversion of the precautionary principle to convince thegeneral public.
Keywords Greenpeace  pesticides  precautionary principle  risk  scientific uncertainty
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