Viewpoint #1: "The fact that traces of this can be found in human urine
is not, in itself, indication of a problem."
Viewpoint #2: "The fact that traces of this can be found in human urine
is a problem, even if no evidence of harm is been found."
Students were asked to select one of the above viewpoints and back it up
with their reasoning. It was made clear that both answers were
"correct," for the purposes of grading, the criterion was internal
consistency, i.e., that the reasoning match the viewpoint expressed.
36 out of 134 chose Viewpoint #1, citing generally the lack of evidence
of harm, and stating that it is unrealistic to expect that industrial
chemicals can be kept out of the environment. They accept the relative
mean risk rationale.
98 out of 134 chose Viewpoint #2, stating generally that it is not okay
with them to be exposed to such things against their will and without
their knowledge and consent. They want their personal choices to
determine their level of exposure to anything, and the essence of this
is whether the exposure is voluntary and known or involuntary and
Naturally, the reasoning embodied in the positions above are not
confined to chloropyrifos. These are value statements and are not to be
interpreted as matters of law or chemistry.
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