Science Debate 2012: Science in Public Policy

The leading U.S. science and engineering organizations developed a list of 14 science policy questions facing the U.S. in 2012. You can read these questions–and the Presidential candidates’ answers–at

For each of the Science Debate 2012 questions, we’re going to provide you a selection of the authoritative and unbiased resources of the National Academies to help inform your response to the candidates’ answers. Today, we’re looking at the ScienceDebate question on Science and Public Policy:

We live in an era when science and technology affect every aspect of life and society, and so must be included in well-informed public policy decisions. How will you ensure that policy and regulatory decisions are fully informed by the best available scientific and technical information, and that the public is able to evaluate the basis of these policy decisions?

How would you respond? Download these reports for free at or purchase a print copy to read.


Science and Decisions

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Science and Decisions: Advancing Risk Assessment424 pages | Paperback | Price: $49.45Risk assessment has become a dominant public policy tool for making choices, based on limited resources, to protect public health and the environment. It has been instrumental to the mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as other… [more]

Improving Health in the United States

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Improving Health in the United States: The Role of Health Impact Assessment208 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.10Factoring health and related costs into decision making is essential to confronting the nation’s health problems and enhancing public well-being. Some policies and programs historically not recognized as relating to health are believed or known to have… [more]

Sustainability and the U.S. EPA

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Sustainability and the U.S. EPA286 pages | Paperback | Price: $33.30Sustainability is based on a simple and long-recognized factual premise: Everything that humans require for their survival and well-being depends, directly or indirectly, on the natural environment. The environment provides the air we breathe, the water we… [more]

Risk Assessment in the Federal Government

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Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process191 pages | Paperback | Price: $35.95The regulation of potentially hazardous substances has become a controversial issue. This volume evaluates past efforts to develop and use risk assessment guidelines, reviews the experience of regulatory agencies with different administrative arrangements for… [more]