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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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CHAPTER II – Technopathogeny –Its disciplinary orphanage and a framing proposal


CHAPTER II Technopathogeny – Its disciplinary orphanage and a framing proposal ‘Every phenomenon needs its own disciplinary home’ I. Introduction We have presented a phenomenon or object of study with a disciplinary void. Being this phenomenon the field of study of this new science, the first requirement to consider Technopathogenology as such is estab- lished. We must then provide the other three elements of the epistemo- logical group (i.e.: Theories, Methodology and Results) in order to be able to speak of the need of creating a new science. In the previous chapter we have observed how by studying two problems associated with technology – mycotoxins and pesticides – we became aware within a year of work of the existence of a phenomenon which was unknown to us upon the creation of PROCABIE in 1984 (formerly INCABIE) (Eguiazu & Motta, 1991). Even though we tried to fit our studies within the environmental sciences framework, more pre- cisely within Anthropo-ecology, we realized that the technopathogeny phenomenon did not adequately fit within this framework. What we mean by this is that we were constantly forced to apply impoverishing reductionisms to the real object of study. Studying something so much reduced and impoverished all but shaded the original phenomenon. In this Chapter we will focus on developing the hypotheses and theo- ries presented which actually support the existence of this disciplinary void and led to the laying down of Technopathogenology which, as every science, as the French philosopher Goblot said, “had experience as its starting point” (Goblot, 1943)...

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