Doctor of Philosophy
School of Humanities and Social Inquiry
Considerable research has been completed showing that environmental exposures can have significant effects on people’s health, especially in terms of autoimmune conditions, cancers, and neurological and psychological conditions. Health effects are possible at exposure levels far below those generally considered safe by orthodox health authorities. A prime example is multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), where sufferers themselves have made clear, short-term associations between health effects and low-level environmental exposures. The condition of MCS is not clearly definable and significantly overlaps with other, largely unrecognised health conditions including fibromyalgia (FMS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), electro hypersensitivity syndrome (EHS) and chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS). The orthodox medical diagnostic process is implicated in the production of ignorance on such health conditions.
Despite the large amount of research showing health effects from low level environmental exposures, there remains much “undone science” in the field - research that could be done but isn’t. The reasons for undone science and the consequent societal ignorance are generally due to society’s ingrained desire for technological improvements. Industry, responsible for technological developments the use of chemical products or radiation devices, is not interested in possible health effects, so expensive scientific research into them is left undone. When subsequent research or firsthand experiences of health effects start to be realised there is ample evidence that the industries responsible for environmental exposures then become active in generating ignorance. Due to close ties with industry, medical and health systems become complicit in industry’s strategy, and knowledge is manipulated by the industry funding of scientific studies, which then influences the conclusions of the research. The support of industry products by institutions, including regulatory agencies, due to conflicts of interest also contributes to knowledge manipulation. Common industry strategies of generating ignorance also include using doubt, blame, power, industry shills, astroturfing, smear campaigns, media manipulation and fact checking services.
Future generations of children who inherit contaminants from their conception will be most affected by the gross neglect of their effect on health. The carry-through of health effects and their magnification in subsequent generations is a tragedy in the making.
Want, Don, Environmental Effects on Health: Ignorance and Undone Science, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong, 2022. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses1/1466
FoR codes (2020)
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.