Advancing alternative analysis: Integration of decision science

Timothy F. Malloy, Virginia M. Zaunbrecher, Christina M. Batteate, Ann Blake, William F. Carroll, Charles J. Corbett, Steffen Foss Hansen, Robert J. Lempert, Igor Linkov, Roger McFadden, Kelly D. Moran, Elsa Olivetti, Nancy K. Ostrom, Michelle Romero, Julie M. Schoenung, Thomas Seager, Peter Sinsheimer, Kristina A. Thayer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Decision analysis—a systematic approach to solving complex problems—offers tools and frameworks to support decision making that are increasingly being applied to environmental challenges. Alternatives analysis is a method used in regulation and product design to identify, compare, and evaluate the safety and viability of potential substitutes for hazardous chemicals. OBJECTIVES: We assessed whether decision science may assist the alternatives analysis decision maker in comparing alternatives across a range of metrics. METHODS: A workshop was convened that included representatives from government, academia, business, and civil society and included experts in toxicology, decision science, alternatives assessment, engineering, and law and policy. Participants were divided into two groups and were prompted with targeted questions. Throughout the workshop, the groups periodically came together in plenary sessions to reflect on other groups’ findings. RESULTS: We concluded that the further incorporation of decision science into alternatives analysis would advance the ability of companies and regulators to select alternatives to harmful ingredients and would also advance the science of decision analysis. CONCLUSIONS: We advance four recommendations: a) engaging the systematic development and evaluation of decision approaches and tools; b) using case studies to advance the integration of decision analysis into alternatives analysis; c) supporting transdisciplinary research; and d) supporting education and outreach efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number066001
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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