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Technopathogenology

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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Introduction 15

Extract

Introduction ‘The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to culti- vate and care for it’ Genesis 2, 15 According to the general proceedings of the advancement of knowledge, the problems, phenomena or events described in this book are framed within disciplines. When only one discipline is not enough to solve a given problem, many disciplines are used in what we call a multidisci- pline. But when all the disciplines at hand cannot break the problem apart to reassemble it like a puzzle we talk about a transdiscipline, thus leading to the creation of a new discipline. In other words, the nature of the problem leads to the development of a transdiscipline, i.e., a lan- guage which can be understood by all the parties who are trying to solve it. The answers are not broken apart any longer but connected. This means that when a new phenomenon presents itself or is detected, what can happen is that after making the effort of framing it, the problem – which is relatively new or not very much studied – cannot be completely clarified by the existing disciplines, thus leaving still a void in the resid- ual knowledge. If such phenomenon is important enough so that it needs further clarifying in spite of, a new discipline must be sketched out – that is to say, a new way of clarifying the phenomenon must be created. This must be the last resource, when there’s no possible solution through pre- vious...

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