Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Eric Shuman

First Page



Health disorders engendered by hazardous, exported foods, pesticides, drugs, and other products recently have attracted worldwide attention. The exportation of products which have been banned or highly restricted in their country of origin or which become hazardous in the environment of the importing nation is a popular issue for opponents of a perceived monolithic transnational industrial complex, as well as for critics of certain United States corporations. A more widely shared opinion is that the United States has a moral obligation to limit foreseeable harm from the export of potentially hazardous merchandise or at least to supply product hazard information. Critics suggest that the United States has abandoned this obligation by resurrecting the doctrine of caveat emptor for exclusive application to foreign consumers. The effect of this adverse publicity upon this nation's foreign relations, upon the confidence of foreign buyers in United States goods and companies, and upon the United States balance of trade has not gone unnoticed...

This Note will examine the domestic and international efforts to predict and mitigate the adverse effects of potentially hazardous merchandise. A comparison will be made between a strict regulatory reaction and the less restrictive approaches aimed at developing access to product information.