Those who wish to deny some instance of environmental injustice often attempt to place inappropriate evidentiary burdens on scientists who show disproportionate pollution effects on vulnerable populations. One such evidentiary standard is the epidemiological-evidence rule (EER). According to EER, legitimate causal inferences about pollution-related harm (and actions to reduce probable environmental injustice) require human-epidemiological data, not merely good animal or laboratory data. This article summarizes the grounds for supporting EER, evaluates central scientific problems with EER, assesses key ethical difficulties with EER, then concludes that EER ought not be used either to deny otherwise-probable environmental injustice or to delay possible action to correct well-documented pollution-related harms.
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