Toward a Critical Medical Anthropology of Global E-Waste Health Science

This explore recent developments in global health studies of electronic waste (e-waste) to engage and build critical anthropological inroads into theory and debates at the crossroads of bioinformation, governmentality, extraction, and toxic expertise. Journalistic accounts of e-waste disaster in China and Ghana began in the early 2000s and eventually spawned international science and advocacy interest, leading to a variety of solutions-based projects and environmental epidemiological studies. Since 2018, the U.S. National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has offered webinars to report on epidemiological evidence generated from case studies in China and Ghana, and the number of scientific reports emerging around the topic of e-waste and health is on the upswing. These environmental health science projects and data sets are deemed powerful because they produce global e-waste health metrics and promise sound evidence that might inform e-waste management policy, but there exist particular extraction politics amidst these bioinformation programs that require biopolitical reflection and critique. This paper uses theory from critical medical anthropology to critique this emerging global environmental health focus on e-waste. 

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