Opasnet is a wiki-based website for helping societal decisions. The website collects, synthesises, and distributes people's values and scientific information. We believe that all wise decision-making is based on expressing our values about what the really important things are, and understanding how the decision actually affects those things. This is why we need both values and science.
Opasnet is maintained and developed by THL (National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland).
The Department of Environmental Health has a motto:
- Man must be able to breathe, drink, eat and live in the environment trusting on its safety. This is both individual's civil right and a prerequisite for a functioning society and economy.
This is a major challenge. We must ensure that the environment is safe in general. We must teach people to avoid things in the environment that are not healthy. We must be alert for emerging hazards and be prepared when needed. And we must convince people that when all this has been done, they don't need to worry.
By this website, we hope to provide understanding on and guidance for decision-making especially in our own field, environmental health. The issues are usually very complex and cross administrative, geographical, and scientific boundaries. Therefore we need information and contributions from many disciplines and areas. This website is built in a way that hopefully makes it easy for you to add information and values. It is also built in a way that mimics the real world. The pages describe things that are usually real, measurable quantities. And if something affects something else, these two things should be linked also in this website. It is a major challenge to describe even the most crucial things affecting human health, but that is what we are aiming to do. We have started from practical case studies to make this effort somewhat manageable.