Monitoring the Worker and the Community for Chemical Exposure and Disease: Legal and Ethical Considerations in the United States
Author(s)Ashford, Nicholas A.
MetadataShow full item record
Biomonitoring of workers and communities raises important legal and ethical concerns, but the two contexts are different. Monitoring workers is usually done by, or at the instigation of, the employer who in law is responsible for their health and safety. Whenever worker monitoring leads to the removal of workers, difficult issues emerge affecting labor-management relations, labor law and discrimination law. Resulting legal and ethical questions are usually framed within the context of the employment contract or labor relationship. In contrast, public health or environmental officials may be the driving force behind biomonitoring of the community. No employer-employee relationship exists, and the doctor-patient relationship may be tenuous. The community may often initiate the request for biomonitoring, but the situation is no less contentious. On the basis of an historical view of monitoring events within the U.S. context, mechanisms are suggested that would promote positive interactions between employers and workers, and between individuals and groups in the monitoring of chemically contaminated communities. These suggestions should have relevance to experience in other countries.
The Science of the Total Environment
The following license files are associated with this item: