The Human Health Experiment: US Endocrine-disrupting Chemical Policy and its Consequences

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John Wargo
Essay Abstract: 
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that affect the endocrine system and have been shown to have hazardous effects on human health. This paper investigates the history and shortfalls of the current regulations for the industrial and commercial use of synthetic EDCs in the United States. I argue that the current screening, testing, and regulation of EDCs in the US puts much of the responsibility of avoiding EDCs on individual consumers, which emphasizes a neoliberal framework of individual choice over corporate responsibility. In order to be effective, regulations should include intersectional environmental justice and reproductive justice principles that place an emphasis on addressing vulnerability as well as exposure. To conclude the paper, I recommend ways to improve the current regulatory structure that recognizes the social cost of EDC exposure using environmental justice and reproductive justice frameworks.