On the History of Body Burden

Authors: Adam Romero*, University of Washington Bothell
Topics: Historical Geography, Agricultural Geography, Environment
Keywords: toxicology, agriculture, contamination, history, pesticides
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 13
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper begins an historical investigation into the concept of body burden and its relation to pesticide contamination. Body burden is used in toxicology to describe the total amount of a chemical present in an organism, most often a human body. Nuclear scientists coined the term after WWII to help conceptualize and surveil the impacts of nuclear fallout but it has since been adapted by pollution and environmental justice activists to elucidate chronic and lifetime effects of toxic chemical exposure.

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