The aim of this proposed project is to complete a scholarly, book-length monograph, "New Technologies, Novel Diseases: Industrial Illness in 20th Century Rayon Manufacturing." This will examine the manner in which a well-defined industry employing a unique manufacturing process was inextricably linked to a widespread outbreak of severe disease with continuing manifestations of toxicity that became endemic within its workforce. This industry spanned the entirety of the 20th century, continuing to cause industrial illnesses throughout this period. This case study poses the central question: When a new technology leads to novel adverse health effects, what are the barriers to and promoting factors for effective preventive measures? This monograph, in six principal chapters, will integrate intellectual history (technological innovation and the medical recognition of a novel hazard), political-economic history (studying what was an early and even prototypical multinational enterprise), and social history (viscose being both a key war materiel and a mass-marketed consumer product). The analysis will approach carbon disulfide-caused occupational disease in the viscose industry as a case study, employing an historical narrative approach. Study materials will be derived from: systematic survey of primary published medico-scientific materials (including journal articles, textbooks, and scientific meeting proceedings);primary regulatory and other governmental materials (including labor inspection data);other published materials (such industrial histories and biographical sources);archival and other resources (for example, material related to social historical aspects, such as artifacts of popular culture). The introduction of new technologies, the emergence of toxicity, its biomedical recognition, the dissemination of knowledge regarding the problem, and the responses of the industry, affected employees, and governmental agents, will all be considered. The target audience includes: occupational and environmental health clinicians and public health practitioners;historians of medicine, technology, science studies, social studies, and economics;and policy makers and regulators. The proposed project is significant because it addresses the transnational history of an understudied topic in occupational health with important contemporary implications for disease prevention. The relevance of this project to public health arises from the ways in which learning the lessons of the past better informs our protective strategies going forward in time, particularly insofar as emerging threats from novel technologies are concerned.

Public Health Relevance

New Technologies, Novel Diseases: Industrial Illness in 20th Century Rayon Manufacturing Public Health Relevance The proposed project , a book-length monograph, addresses the central question: When a new technology leads to novel adverse health effects, what are the barriers to and promoting factors for effective preventive measures? The introduction of new technologies, the emergence of toxicity, its biomedical recognition, the dissemination of knowledge regarding the problem, and the responses of the industry, affected employees, and governmental agents, will all be considered. The proposed project is highly relevant to public health because it addresses the transnational history of an understudied topic in occupational health with important contemporary implications for disease prevention. Learning the lessons of the past better informs our public health protective strategies going forward in time, particularly insofar as emerging threats from novel technologies are concerned.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Type
Health Sciences Publication Support Awards (NLM) (G13)
Project #
5G13LM010076-03
Application #
8448318
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZLM1-ZH-P (01))
Program Officer
Vanbiervliet, Alan
Project Start
2011-03-15
Project End
2014-03-14
Budget Start
2013-03-15
Budget End
2014-03-14
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$45,080
Indirect Cost
Name
University of California San Francisco
Department
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
094878337
City
San Francisco
State
CA
Country
United States
Zip Code
94143