Lead poisoning in Australia 1890-2007

Paper


Eddington, Ian. 2007. "Lead poisoning in Australia 1890-2007." ICOH 2007: 3rd Conference of the Scientific Committee on the History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases . Birmingham, England 19 - 21 Apr 2007
Paper/Presentation Title

Lead poisoning in Australia 1890-2007

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorEddington, Ian
Journal or Proceedings TitleProceedings of the 3rd International Conference of the Scientific Committee on the History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases (ICOH 2007)
Number of Pages15
Year2007
Conference/EventICOH 2007: 3rd Conference of the Scientific Committee on the History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases
Event Details
ICOH 2007: 3rd Conference of the Scientific Committee on the History of Prevention of Occupational and Environmental Diseases
Event Date
19 to end of 21 Apr 2007
Event Location
Birmingham, England
Abstract

A case study of lead poisoning in colonial Australia and beyond is used as a basis to raise questions about socio-scientific dimensions of public policy interventions to prevent harm from work. First, discussions about exposure to lead which resulted initially in lead poisoning in children and subsequently in chronic nephritis in some of those children reaching adulthood, were used as a basis to introduce a range of issues germane to disease prevention: the nature of scientific method, the nature of political and economic power, health communication, epidemiology and technology, the power of one and/or the few, bureaucratic systems, decision making under uncertainty, mind, will and morality, the efficacy of duty of care, and professional ethics. Second, some of these issues were further discussed in combination in order to focus on questions of human cognition, ethical social values and the human will in the context of public policy intervention. Third, general learnings about preventive public policy intervention were drawn out of the discussion and expressed in the form of actions the ICOH itself might consider adopting in order to make itself a more effective organisation.

Keywordspublic policy strategy; lead poisoning; intervention to prevent harm from work
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440706. Health policy
350505. Occupational and workplace health and safety
380108. Health economics
Public Notes

The work available here is in the form of a slide presentation used to complement a keynote address. In order to prevent 'Death by Powerpoint' on the day the slide presentation was organised in the form of a play. Different acts and scenes separate distinct sections in the presentation. Even so, it may not be easy for readers to follow the three discrete jumps outlined earlier in the abstract or to fully appreciate the nature and content of the verbal presentation, or for that matter to appreciate how the three seemingly separate parts of the paper hang together. The conference organisers did not proceed, as planned, to publish full proceedings and colleagues wishing to pursue the slide content further are welcome to contact the author (eddington@usq.edu.au). The ICOH actions list contained in the conclusion seems to have little connection with the earlier sections of the paper and this is because general lessons learned were translated into general things the ICOH might do to improve its effectiveness and usefulness which, amongst some ICOH members, I was questioning on the day.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Accounting, Economics and Finance
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