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We are quite sure that we know what we know, but often we also know that we lack certain information. Finally we may be completely ignorant of the things we do not know. In case we are aware of all the vital information when assessing environmental risks of chemicals, we need to act accordingly, and then it is essential that the known is implemented and accepted properly.
Known unknowns create uncertainty, which can and must be taken into account when addressing risks. Inclusion of such uncertainty in risk assessment is vital, but a constant point of discussion. Ignorance may sometimes be bliss, but the unknown unknowns are thought to be a major issue in environmental risk assessment, and policy makers are constantly searching for ways to deal with the potential impacts of the unknown unknowns.
In this symposium, (un)known (un)knowns are the key topic because we are really sure they play a vital role in future assessment and management of environmental contaminants (this is a known known!).
Keynotes on knowns and unknowns in environmental risk assessment