The Poison Paradigm: What a Toxic Chemical Tells us about the Politics of Science
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We are exposed to thousands of toxic chemicals daily. This is no accident; it is by design. They are everywhere – coating our consumer products, in our food packaging, being dumped into our lakes and sewers, and in countless other places. However, for the most part, regulators say that we need not worry. That assessment is based on a simple 500-year-old adage, “the dose makes the poison.” The logic is simple: anything is poisonous, depending on how large a dose. Dosing yourself with a miniscule amount of lead will cause no harm; while drinking an enormous amount of water will kill you. Regulators then try to find safe exposure levels for these chemicals—and they assume a simple, direct relationship (less is fine, more is worse). So, no matter how toxic the chemical, you only need to worry if it passes a certain exposure threshold. But what if that’s wrong? This episode of Darts and Letters predecessor, Cited, asks that question. This episode is a central part of Darts and Letters’ DNA. We’re interested in the politics of science and academia. We like asking questions like who gets to be the expert, how does funding impact research outcomes, that kind of stuff. This is a story about how what one chemical, bisphenol A, or “BPA”, tells us about the politics of science. —————————-SUPPORT THE SHOW—————————- You can support the show for free by following or subscribing on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or whichever app you use. This is the best way to help us out and it costs nothing so we’d really appreciate you clicking that button. If you want to do a little more we would love it if you chip in. You can find us on Patrons get content early, and occasionally there’s bonus material on there too. ——————-ABOUT THE SHOW—————— For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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