Science, especially settled science, takes time to get right. While suspicions are often the first sign of a potential danger, certainty requires fact-based and time-tested evidence from multiple studies that all produce the same results. We are getting better and faster at achieving this, but the process is not perfect.
For many of the examples included in this report, centuries passed before sufficient research was conducted on the impact of these products and practices on the health and well-being of humanity. While the slow and steady nature of the scientific process can be frustrating, the need for speed cannot supersede facts, truth, and accuracy.
When science follows the Mertonian norms—when it is done in the spirit of collaboration and communality, and for the benefit of common scientific enterprise rather than personal gain, and exposed to critical scrutiny before being accepted—it is capable of saving lives, improving the quality of lives, and providing the data to help us make sound public policy, regulatory and judicial decisions.
For every chemical or product that is found to be a danger to society, hundreds more provide an immeasurable benefit. When those in government and the courts are unwilling to give settled science time to settle, one must ask—who stands to benefit?