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Technology and Non-Evident Risk – A Contribution to Prevention

Guillermo Miguel Eguiazu and Alberto Motta

This book deals with the prevention of potential non-evident risks on human health associated with technology which encloses the general knowledge of developing processes used to achieve either goods or services. The voids in technological knowledge used in the development of new technologies are responsible for hidden defects in the same. The authors suggest that hidden defects in technologies are accountable for hazards in generations of environmental factors that they call technopathogens. These factors can cause adverse effects to human health which are expressed not immediately but over years or even generations. This phenomenon is defined as technopathogeny. Since technopathogeny cannot be framed within existing disciplines related to the phenomenon such as risk assessment, risk management, technology assessment, technological genesis, environmental impact assessment, life cycle assessment or ecology, the authors coin a new term for this specific discipline called Technopathogenology.


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We could define science as a kind of adventure. Like a cave explorer, or a deep sea diver, who enters unknown territories driven by curiosity and the need to discover something new, a scientist also dives into the un- known territories of science, into that ontic universe where there is so much yet to discover, driven by a feeling that there is something out there and by the desire to discover it. However, just like an explorer, who must face the obstacles posted by the places he or she dives in, a scientist entering new fields of knowl- edge might also face many obstacles, and keep going forward in spite of such obstacles. These obstacles include not only those inherent to the field of knowledge to be explored, but also those generated by col- leagues and people within the field. We are saying this because we ourselves have found unexpected obsta- cles while exploring this new field of knowledge of technology we call Technopathogenology, many of such obstacles coming as a result of the ethical commitment we assumed in the unconditional search for knowledge. These obstacles made Dr. Günter Emde, founder and leader of INESPE, the project for Ethical Engagement of INES (International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility), regard us as ethical objectors within the scientific field – a figure that, while common in private business, seemed unconceivable in science. In 2005, Prof. Armin Tenner – former chairman of INES – reaching a good understanding of our research encouraged...

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