Toxic Safety: Flame Retardants, Chemical Controversies, and Environmental Health

Hardcover | March 29, 2016

byAlissa Cordner

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Initially marketed as a life-saving advancement, flame retardants are now mired in controversy. Some argue that data show the chemicals are unsafe while others continue to support their use. The tactics of each side have far-reaching consequences for how we interpret new scientific discoveries.

An experienced environmental sociologist, Alissa Cordner conducts more than a hundred interviews with activists, scientists, regulators, and industry professionals to isolate the social, scientific, economic, and political forces influencing environmental health policy today. Introducing "strategic science translation," she describes how stakeholders use scientific evidence to support nonscientific goals and construct "conceptual risk formulas" to shape risk assessment and the interpretation of empirical evidence. A revelatory text for public-health advocates, Toxic Safety demonstrates that while all parties interested in health issues use science to support their claims, they do not compete on a level playing field and even good intentions can have deleterious effects.

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From the Publisher

Initially marketed as a life-saving advancement, flame retardants are now mired in controversy. Some argue that data show the chemicals are unsafe while others continue to support their use. The tactics of each side have far-reaching consequences for how we interpret new scientific discoveries.An experienced environmental sociologist,...

Alissa Cordner is assistant professor of sociology at Whitman College and coauthor (with Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Elizabeth A. Bennett, Peter Klein, and Stephanie Savell) of The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life (2014).

other books by Alissa Cordner

Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:March 29, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231171463

ISBN - 13:9780231171465

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsAbbreviations1. Uncertain Science and the Fight for Environmental Health2. Hot Topics: Flame Retardants in the Public Sphere3. Defending Risk and Defining Safety4. Strategic Science Translation5. Negotiating Science6. Science of AdvocacyConclusion: The Pursuit of Chemical JusticeAppendix. Playing the Field: Methodological ReflectionsNotesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

An important, well-documented, and well-told account. Recommended.