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Beyond control - The Uncertainties and Diverging Images of Swedish Chemicals Regulation

Today,industrialised societies are frequently confronted with new warnings deliveredby experts about risks associated with anthropogenic substances. Such warnings aretypically not related to any definitive consequences but rather to admissionsof great uncertainty about effects, and thus they contrast sharply to politicalpromises of non-toxic environments and a highly regulated production ofchemicals. It is the argument of this article that the high uncertaintysurrounding chemicals allows for the proliferation of radically divergent andparadoxical images of chemicals regulation and its functionality. The articleanalyses the rationality underlying the system of chemicals control in Sweden,a country often priding itself on having one of the most progressivelegislations in the world. The regulation and control performed by the twocentral agencies involved in the control of chemicals are studied through textanalysis and interviews, and the concluding discussion frames chemicalsregulation by theories on post-politics and post-ecologism.

Unconventional Pollution Control Politics: The Reformation of the US Safe Drinking Water Act

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed to reform federal environmental regulation around “risk management” principles that stressed pollution prevention, better priorities, and cost control. In spite of the fact that risk management were strongly supported by three successive presidential administrations, only one major federal statute – the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments of 1996 – was developed around these principles. The purpose of this paper is to understand why Congress succeeded in reforming the SDWA around risk management principles at a time when legislative reform of other federal pollution control policies remained stalled. Through a historical analysis of federal drinking water politics between 1970 and 1996, it is concluded that the somewhat unique politics surrounding the drinking water issue enabled risk management principles to serve as a “persuasive discourse” that bound together key interests within the policy community.


Review: Environnement et Écosociété: Histoire, acteurs, économie, gestion, droit, patrimoine, santé et sécurité publique

Book Review

English Translation:  Environment and Ecosociety: History, Actors, Economy, Managing, Law, Heritage, Health and Public Safety

Review: Clearer Skies Over China – Reconciling Air Quality, Climate and Economic Goals

Book Review

This important book presents the results from a large project bringing together scholars from various institutions and across the disciplines in China and the United States to examine local and global air pollution in China.

Review: Who’s asking? Native Science, Western Science and Science Education

Reviewed by Enzo Ferrara of 

Who’s asking? Native Science, Western Science and Science Education

By Douglas L. Medin and Megan Bang