Entering the Final Stretch (Carcinogen Regulation)

I am now entering my seventh week of research, but it certainly doesn’t seem like seven weeks have passed since I began my research (That is until I look at all of the journal articles, books, and law reviews I have read and then reread). I feel like I now have a more generalized understanding of the regulatory procedures required to regulate not only carcinogens, but also hazardous products and chemicals in general. One topic that I found intriguing was the different agencies involved in regulation and how they have very similar roles in the regulatory process but varying missions and ways of achieving the same task. I briefly discuss some of the problems that may arise from the complex bureaucracy involved in carcinogen regulation in my paper, but feel there is certainly room for elaboration or further research in the future.

As of now I have completed a first draft of my research paper. The structure of my paper is follows: introduction and discussion of cancer, discussion of the difficulties of risk assessment and potential areas for controversy, discussion of risk management and the different agents involved and the process, followed by a brief discussion of the critiques and potential reforms for the regulatory system. The discussion of the critiques of the regulatory systems is relatively brief, but leaves room for further discussion in another paper, or project. While this area is directly related to my project the field is far too large to be adequately discussed with the remaining time in my project. Although this is my seventh week of research I will probably continue work for at least an extra week.

The remaining work I have consists primarily of revision. I will review the paper each time looking at different aspects such as the structure and discussion, adding research or potential sources where needed, but I think I have a decent frame work to begin restructuring.

In my original research plan, I was thinking of adding a case study or two to my paper to illustrate the complexities involved in carcinogen regulation, however, my discussion and research into the generalized process of carcinogen regulation took the entirety of my time. In the case studies, I was thinking I would add important court rulings and changes in regulation, along with changes in cancer incidence to show the difficulties involved with epidemiology and quantifying data for carcinogen risk assessment, however, this proved to be a daunting task given my remaining time. Additionally, cases studies for some product seems like they would last an entire book, for such an example see “In Search of Safety: Chemicals and Cancer Risk,” which covers two case studies; Benzene and Formaldehyde.

For now, I am very grateful for the knowledge I have gained over my research and look forward to revising and eventually polishing my paper.