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Photo provided by: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Date and time
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
4:00 - 5:00pm

American Experience presents a virtual PAST FORWARD conversation exploring the harmful chemicals in the food, clothes, and other goods that Americans buy and use every day. This conversation is inspired in part by our new streaming film Poisoned Ground: The Tragedy at Love Canal.

Panelists will examine how American consumer culture acts in conjunction with corporate negligence and government laxity to expose the public to chemical hazards. They will also explore how wealth can determine one's level of exposure, and the government’s regulatory approach to consumer protection over time. They will look forward by asking what actions consumers can take to protect themselves.

Dr. Jennifer Thomson is an associate professor of history at Bucknell University. Her current book project examines the effect of the Environmental Protection Agency's sewer grant construction program on racial residential segregation. Her first book, The Wild and the Toxic: American Environmentalism and the Politics of Health, explored the various discourses of health that environmentalists deployed in the late twentieth century.

Dr. Bhavna Shamasunder is an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Urban & Environmental Policy at Occidental College. She teaches and conducts research at the intersection of environmental health & justice, with a focus on inequalities in chemical exposures faced by low-income communities and communities of color who live and work in urban and/or industrial environments.

This conversation will be moderated by Tim Bartley. Tim teaches in the Department of Sociology and the Earth Commons Institute at Georgetown University. His work focuses on sustainability standards, environmental justice movements, and the regulation of global industries. More broadly, he is interested in political, organizational, and economic processes that shape environments, workplaces, and the expression of rights around the world.

This event will be livestreamed on our YouTube and Facebook pages.

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