Ethics and Environmental Justice

Di Renzo et al., 2015

Gian Carlo Di Renzo, Jeanne A. Conry, Jennifer Blake, Mark S. DeFrancesco, Nathaniel DeNicola, James N. Martin Jr., Kelly A. McCue, David Richmond, Abid Shah, Patrice Sutton, Tracey J. Woodruff, Sheryl Ziemin van der Poel, Linda C. Giudice, “International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics opinion on reproductive health impacts of exposure to toxic environmental chemicals,” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2015, 131, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.09.002

ABSTRACT:

Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals during pregnancy and breastfeeding is ubiquitous and is a threat to healthy human reproduction. There are tens of thousands of chemicals in global commerce, and even small exposures to toxic chemicals during pregnancy can trigger adverse health consequences. Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals and related health outcomes are inequitably distributed within and between countries; universally, the consequences of exposure are disproportionately borne by people with low incomes. Discrimination, other social factors, economic factors, and occupation impact risk of exposure and harm. Documented links between prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals and adverse health outcomes span the life course and include impacts on fertility and pregnancy, neurodevelopment, and cancer. The global health and economic burden related to toxic environmental chemicals is in excess of millions of deaths and billions of dollars every year. On the basis of accumulating robust evidence of exposures and adverse health impacts related to toxic environmental chemicals, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) joins other leading reproductive health professional societies in calling for timely action to prevent harm. FIGO recommends that reproductive and other health professionals advocate for policies to prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals, work to ensure a healthy food system for all, make environmental health part of health care, and champion environmental justice. FULL TEXT

Goldman et al., 2004

Goldman L1, Eskenazi B, Bradman A, Jewell NP., “Risk behaviors for pesticide exposure among pregnant women living in farmworker households in Salinas, California,”  American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 45:6, 2004, DOI: 10.1002/ajim.20012

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND: Farmworkers and their families are at risk for pesticide exposure, however, little is known about behaviors that increase their risk. We determined the frequency of risky behaviors among pregnant farmworkers and characterized those at greatest risk.

METHODS: Participants included 153 pregnant farmworkers and 248 pregnant non-farmworkers who resided with farmworkers from the CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas) study. We examined risky behaviors relating to handwashing, bathing, protective clothing, house cleaning, laundering of work clothes, wearing of work clothes and shoes into the home, and eating produce from the fields.

RESULTS: Between 25 and 60% of women demonstrated risky behavior on each item. Practices of households with pregnant farmworkers and non-farmworkers did not differ. Women who lived in the United States longer, and in crowded households demonstrated the most risky behavior overall.

CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant farmworkers and those living with farmworkers need to be educated to reduce potential take-home pesticide exposure.

Kabasenche and Skinner, 2014

Kabasenche WP, Skinner MK, “DDT, epigenetic harm, and transgenerational environmental justice,” Environmental Health, 2014, 13:62, DOI: 10.1186/1476-069X-13-62.

ABSTRACT: Although the environmentally harmful effects of widespread dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) use became well-known following Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), its human health effects have more recently become clearer. A ban on the use of DDT has been in place for over 30 years, but recently DDT has been used for malaria control in areas such as Africa. Recent work shows that DDT has transgenerational effects in progeny and generations never directly exposed to DDT. These effects have health implications for individuals who are not able to have any voice in the decision to use the pesticide. The transgenerational effects of DDT are considered in light of some widely accepted ethical principles. We argue that this reframes the decision to use DDT, requiring us to incorporate new considerations, and new kinds of decision making, into the deliberative process that determines its ongoing use. Ethical considerations for intergenerational environmental justice are presented that include concern and respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, and justice. Here, we offer a characterization of the kinds of ethical considerations that must be taken into account in any satisfactory decisions to use DDT. FULL TEXT

Richmond, 2018

Richmond, Martha E., “Glyphosate: A review of its global use, environmental impact, and potential health effects on humans and other species,” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Published online 09/28/2018, doi:10.1007/s13412-018-0517-2.

ABSTRACT:

Glyphosate, [N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine], was synthesized in 1950 and patented as a chemical chelator, capable of binding metals such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Glyphosate’s ability to bind to manganese was later found to inhibit an enzyme used by plants and bacteria for biosynthesis ofthree amino acids found in all proteins, and the commercial value ofthis property led to the development and marketing of glyphosate as a broad-spectrum herbicide. In 1974, the Monsanto Chemical Company introduced the herbicide as Roundup™, a formulation of glyphosate and adjuvants. Roundup™ was originally used for weed control in specific farming and landscaping operations and around power lines and train tracks. Following introduction of Roundup Ready™ seeds, in the 1990s, glyphosate use increased significantly. Although Monsanto’s patent on glyphosate expired in 2002, the widespread and growing use ofRoundup Ready™ seed globally and competitive glyphosate marketing by other chemical companies have led to glyphosate’s significant increase in the environment. Concerns about potential adverse effects have also grown. While, at present, many regulatory agencies have determined that there is little risk of adverse health effects to the general public or to farmworkers using proper handling techniques, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assessing hazard data on glyphosate identified it in 2016 as a category 2A carcinogen (likely to cause human cancer). Response to this classification has been divided: The agribusiness industry has been forceful in its opposition, while other experts support IARC’s classification. The following article examines these issues. It also examines the basis for regulatory decisions, controversies involved, and questions of environmental justice that may or may not be addressed as glyphosate continues to be used. FULL TEXT

Schafer et al., 2004

Kristin S. Schafer, Margaret Reeves, Skip Spitzer, Susan E. Kegley, “Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability,” Report by the Pesticide Action Network North America, May 2004.

ABSTRACT:

Not Available

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