Spectral science: tracing the conflict zones of Uruguayan lead poisoning

  • Daniel Renfrew
  • Culture Theory and Critique, August 2017, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/14735784.2017.1356739

Scientific and public health engagements with a lead poisoning epidemic in Uruguay

What is it about?

Examines disputes over the ways Uruguayan pediatricians, toxicologists, and public health specialists engaged with and addressed the discovery of a widespread lead poisoning epidemic in Montevideo, Uruguay. Under dispute and debate were the proper scientific standards and intervention protocols to use. Some physicians and scientists argued for the use of strict international protocols, while others, particularly public health specialists and officials, argued these standards were too strict and costly for Uruguay. They argued instead for a pragmatic and flexible approach to lead poisoning intervention and treatment, while framing this approach as based on sound, objective international science.

Why is it important?

The article engages with science studies and postcolonial science studies literatures and applies them to a setting in the global South, something relatively unusual in the field. It also contributes to the global social scientific literature on lead poisoning, a devastating and enduring pediatric disease.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Daniel Renfrew