Advanced

Differences in the strengths of evidence matters in risk–risk trade-offs

Sahlin, Ullrika LU and Rundlöf, Maj LU (2016) In Journal of Risk Research p.1-7
Abstract

Making decisions between alternatives are challenging when there is weak or unreliable knowledge about the risks and benefits of the alternatives. This requires a trade-off between risks (and benefits). Here, we comment on a recent paper on risk–risk trade-offs and highlight the difficulties of making such trade-offs when the available evidence is of different strength. One current example of a risk–risk trade-off under weak evidence is the restriction and reevaluation of the risks of neonicotinoid insecticides to bees conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). We argue that a risk–risk trade-off is essential in this context. Although considerable research efforts have been focused at determining the risks of neonicotinoids... (More)

Making decisions between alternatives are challenging when there is weak or unreliable knowledge about the risks and benefits of the alternatives. This requires a trade-off between risks (and benefits). Here, we comment on a recent paper on risk–risk trade-offs and highlight the difficulties of making such trade-offs when the available evidence is of different strength. One current example of a risk–risk trade-off under weak evidence is the restriction and reevaluation of the risks of neonicotinoid insecticides to bees conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). We argue that a risk–risk trade-off is essential in this context. Although considerable research efforts have been focused at determining the risks of neonicotinoids to bees, the evidence base is still limited. However, focus on strengthening evidence on impacts of one substance may lead policy-makers and public to believe that its substitutes are less harmful, when in fact evidence is weak on the impacts of these substitutes as well. We argue that a broader management of uncertainty is needed and that the difference in uncertainty underlying evidence of risk for different alternatives needs to be communicated to policy-makers. We suggest that this can be done, for example, using measures of uncertainty, which take into account strength in evidence, and combine these with principles to guide decision-making.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
decision-making, evidence, neonicotinoids, risk–risk trade-offs, uncertainty
in
Journal of Risk Research
pages
7 pages
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84966711845
ISSN
1366-9877
DOI
10.1080/13669877.2016.1178662
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
79a3a861-6e2f-403a-b989-d13fc0e5776f
date added to LUP
2016-09-28 11:19:18
date last changed
2017-01-01 08:35:23
@article{79a3a861-6e2f-403a-b989-d13fc0e5776f,
  abstract     = {<p>Making decisions between alternatives are challenging when there is weak or unreliable knowledge about the risks and benefits of the alternatives. This requires a trade-off between risks (and benefits). Here, we comment on a recent paper on risk–risk trade-offs and highlight the difficulties of making such trade-offs when the available evidence is of different strength. One current example of a risk–risk trade-off under weak evidence is the restriction and reevaluation of the risks of neonicotinoid insecticides to bees conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). We argue that a risk–risk trade-off is essential in this context. Although considerable research efforts have been focused at determining the risks of neonicotinoids to bees, the evidence base is still limited. However, focus on strengthening evidence on impacts of one substance may lead policy-makers and public to believe that its substitutes are less harmful, when in fact evidence is weak on the impacts of these substitutes as well. We argue that a broader management of uncertainty is needed and that the difference in uncertainty underlying evidence of risk for different alternatives needs to be communicated to policy-makers. We suggest that this can be done, for example, using measures of uncertainty, which take into account strength in evidence, and combine these with principles to guide decision-making.</p>},
  author       = {Sahlin, Ullrika and Rundlöf, Maj},
  issn         = {1366-9877},
  keyword      = {decision-making,evidence,neonicotinoids,risk–risk trade-offs,uncertainty},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  pages        = {1--7},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Journal of Risk Research},
  title        = {Differences in the strengths of evidence matters in risk–risk trade-offs},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13669877.2016.1178662},
  year         = {2016},
}