August 17, 2009 by David Taylor

Most people agree that “it is better to be safe than sorry” and this is often used as a justification for the application of the Precautionary Principle. However, real life is a bit more complicated: there is, for example no universally agreed definition either of the ‘precautionary principle’ itself let alone any agreement on how and when it should be applied. The Royal Society of Chemistry has just published a discussion paper on this somewhat controversial subject which identifies some of the issues and suggests a more pragmatic approach to its application.