Every emerging risk strategy must begin with a horizon scan. At Praedicat, our strategy is to scan the scientific literature for indications that scientists are investigating a new hypothesis that some commercial activity or product might cause bodily injury.

Executive Summary

What's interesting to scientists should always be of interest to liability insurers. That's the message that Praedicat executives deliver as they review some of the "emerging interest" risks being investigated in a small but growing volume of toxicology and environmental literature. Among the risks are chemicals that may be persistent, mobile and toxic—plasticizers, insecticides and fungicides—and food emulsifiers, all of which are subjects of new hypotheses linking them to health consequences.

We call the risks identified at the literature horizon “emerging interest” risks. Scientists’ interest may result in literature growing from a small number of articles into a large literature (which we call “emerging damage”) and ultimately to the point when scientific evidence could be admitted in “emerging litigation.”

The toxicology and environmental literatures are filled with tens of thousands of hypotheses, and at least a dozen completely new hypotheses hit the major scientific journals every year. Most of them will never become large literatures, and obviously fewer will become involved in mass torts. But interest to scientists should always imply interest to liability insurers.

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