Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health

Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health

Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health

Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health

Synopsis

We rely on environmental health scientists to document the presence of chemicals where we live, work, and play and to provide an empirical basis for public policy. In the last decades of the 20th century, environmental health scientists began to shift their focus deep within the human body, and to the molecular level, in order to investigate gene-environment interactions. In Exposed Science, Sara Shostak analyzes the rise of gene-environment interaction in the environmental health sciences and examines its consequences for how we understand and seek to protect population health. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observation, Shostak demonstrates that what we know - and what we don't know - about the vulnerabilities of our bodies to environmental hazards is profoundly shaped by environmental health scientists' efforts to address the structural vulnerabilities of their field. She then takes up the political effects of this research, both from the perspective of those who seek to establish genomic technologies as a new basis for environmental regulation, and from the perspective of environmental justice activists, who are concerned that that their efforts to redress the social, political, and economical inequalities that put people at risk of environmental exposure will be undermined by molecular explanations of environmental health and illness. Exposed Science thus offers critically important new ways of understanding and engaging with the emergence of gene-environment interaction as a focal concern of environmental health science, policy-making, and activism.

Excerpt

In the spring of 2000, a two-year-old girl named Sunday Abek was treated at a New Hampshire hospital emergency room for a low-grade fever and vomiting. Because her throat culture was positive for strep, the doctors sent her home with a prescription for an antibiotic. Her condition worsened, and three weeks later Sunday was admitted to the hospital, where she fell into a coma. Two days later, she died. the cause of her death was lead poisoning.

Originally from Sudan, Sunday’s family had recently moved to the United States from an Egyptian refugee camp, where she had lived for most of her brief life. She was poisoned, however, by lead in her family’s home in an apartment building in Manchester, New Hampshire. Following her death, testing at the apartment revealed that the porch, where Sunday played, was covered with peeling, flaking paint. Window wells . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.