AnthroTox brings together social anthropologists, historians and STS-scholars, environmental toxicologists and chemists, to understand how environmental, social and political-economic processes shape flows and impacts of anthropogenic toxicants across societies and ecosystems, and to contribute to public debate, policy processes and remedial action.
During its first phase, a cohort of six AnthroTox PhD students (Haar, Nipen, Klaas, Mikkelsen, Ntapanta and Medaas) focuses on persistent organic pollutants from electronic waste in Tanzania. Pollution by POPs is a cumulative global environmental problem, since POPs travel long distances, passively with atmospheric and sea currents, and actively with trade in industrial products and waste. They accumulate in the food chain, affecting animal and human life, including reproduction, immune function, and carcinogenesis. From their origin in industrial production, to their release into the environment, POPs engage with social, cultural and economic processes. For political‐economic and climatic reasons, East Africa attracts large amounts of these hazardous substances, raising questions of environmental justice, and a need for empirical data.
Our initial investigations on Tanzanian e-POPs will serve as a sustainable interdisciplinary foundation for further work with diverse collaborators on global anthropogenic toxicants and other toxic substances, across a wider geographical range. A first step towards this broader agenda is the affiliation of two other anthropological PhDs (Waltz and Biehl), working on respectively Aflatoxin and pesticides in Kenya. We invite others interested in critical and creative studies of global anthro-toxicology from across the university and beyond to future exchanges, co-operation and collaboration.
- Social processes related to the spread of toxicants, and activities leading to exposure and harmful effects;
- Relationships between ecosystem exposures of anthropogenic toxicants and chemical management strategies (waste handling and regulatory efforts);
- The role of history, postcolonial situation and global political economy in production, distribution, effects and handling of toxicants;
- Local and international risk-containing, regulation and monitoring efforts, their intended and unintended effects, and their relation to scientific knowledge production.
To contribute to:
- Public debate on political economy, consumption and production, ethics and policy concerning environmental pollution.
- Local, national and transnational forms of environmental engagement and activism, and their interplay with other social and political processes.
- National and international policy and regulatory processes pertaining to environmental toxicants, and reflection about these.