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precautionary principle

noun
1.
the precept that an action should not be taken if the consequences are uncertain and potentially dangerous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Contemporary definitions for precautionary principle
noun

in environmental matters, the theory that if the effects of a product or action are unknown, then the product should not be used or the action should not be taken

Examples

A comprehensive definition of the precautionary principle was spelled out in a meeting of scientists, lawyers, policy makers and environmentalists.

Word Origin

1988

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