Toxic Expertise

Toxic Expertise

This international project includes SSEHRI director Phil Brown on its Advisory Board. We hope visitors to our website will explore the Toxic Expertise website and perhaps find ways to link up with their projects.

 This ERC funded, 5 year research project at the University of Warwick offers the first systematic sociological analysis of the global petrochemical industry in relation to corporate social responsibility and environmental justice. Examining different claims about the health impacts of toxic pollution, this is a highly topical, interdisciplinary project.

We are surrounded by toxics in our everyday lives. Toxics are found not only in synthetic products but also in the natural environment. But just what can be considered toxic to human health, and at what levels of exposure? This is difficult to quantify and the subject of much debate, both scientifically and politically. Toxic Expertise refers to expertise – scientific, legal, economic, and lay- about the ‘toxic’. Debates about toxic expertise do not always fit within dichotomies: corporations versus communities, science versus anecdotal evidence, or corporate versus civil rights law. There are competing interests across jobs, prosperity, and health, and different approaches to risk and uncertainty. This project examines different forms of knowledge and expertise about how to measure, assess, mitigate, and regulate toxic substances. We aim to facilitate dialogue between wider publics and the academy about important questions of corporate social responsibility and the democratization of science.

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