“Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) as Industrial and Settler Colonial Structures: Towards a Decolonial Feminist Approach” by Reena Shadaan and Michelle Murphy

A heartfelt congratulations to Reena Shadaan, co-lead of the Environmental Data Justice lab’s chemical research and PhD candidate at York University, and Michelle Murphy, director of the Technoscience Research Unit, on their new article “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) as Industrial and Settler Colonial Structures: Towards a Decolonial Feminist Approach” in the current issue of Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, and Technoscience and Special Section on Chemical Entanglements: Gender and Exposure.

In their article, Shadaan and Murphy build on the Pollution is Colonialism framework developed by Métis scholar Max Liboiron, as well as their collaborative work in the Endocrine Disruptors Action Group to expand our understandings of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) found in packaging, plastics and other consumer goods as material forms of colonial environmental violence. Read the abstract below and download the article here.

“Oil refineries and settler colonialism are not typically how feminist and environmental frameworks scope the problem of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Instead, it is much more common to find EDCs described as a problem of packaging, plastics, and consumer goods, and to characterize their effects as a problem of bodily damage, and particularly as injuries or alterations to the reproductive and sexual development of individuals. This paper seeks to expand from these individualized, molecularized, damage-centered and body-centered frames, and to strengthen decolonial feminist frameworks for understanding EDCs. We contend that our understanding of EDCs must expand to the structures of settler colonialism and racial capitalism that accompany oil extraction and refining, as well as to the distribution of emissions to airs, waters, and lands. Building on the argument that pollution is colonialism, we hold that EDCs are materially a form of colonial environmental violence, disrupting Land/body relations, and at the same time, are made possible by a permission-to-pollute regulatory regime.”