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Dependent Convergence: The Struggle to Control Petrochemical Hazards in Brazil and the United States
Carlos Eduardo Siqueira

Work, Health and Environment Series, Charles Levenstein and John Wooding, Series Editors

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"... a serious scholarly piece ... a meticulously referenced book that attempts to conceptually define its title term, "dependent convergence." ...This book complements an established body of knowledge concerning migration of hazards from developed to developing countries. Although not a new subject, this book looks at the struggle to control diverse petrochemical hazards in Brazil as
opposed to approaches used in the United States. It takes a rather fresh approach in terms of applying  the perspective of the developing country. The ramifications of public policy are examined in terms of both occupational and environmental health."
—J. Thomas Pierce, Ph.D
  MB.BS University of Kansas Medical Center, Doody's Book Review Service, Weighted Numerical Score: 8

"Siqueira's book is based on his doctoral dissertation, directed by Professor Charles Levenstein of the Department of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. It offers a strong theoretical section, a coherent ideological scheme, and methodological rigor. Clarity is always maintained even while addressing topics like benzene poisoning and theories of class formation that usually are impregnated by scientific and aca- demic jargon. The book is readily accessible for a wide range of readers, such as those interested in political economy, industrial pollution control, exportation of hazardous wastes, trade-union campaigns, social and environmental movements, environmental legislation, the petrochemical industry, petrochemical complexes, occupational medicine and hygiene, and government and managerial policies."
—Fernando M. Carvalho, Preventive Medicine Department, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, Review of Radical Political Economics Summer 2005.


The international literature on the export or migration of hazards from developed to developing countries has mostly focused on the perspectives of exporting countries. The research reported here adds to that literature by studying the process of importation of petrochemical hazards and its controls by Cetrel, the waste-management company for the Camaçari Petrochemical Complex (located in Bahia, Brazil) from the perspective of the importers (Brazilian social actors). Based on initial evidence that indicated Cetrel’s long-term cooperation with the Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority (GCA), the waste management company for the Gulf Coast area of Texas, three case studies describe and analyze the process of importation: first, two benzene-related occupational and environmental health crises that affected the complex in the eighties; second, the environmental policies adopted by Cetrel; and third, the environmental policies carried out by the GCA. 

Comparative analyses of social actors and policy outcomes in Bahia and Texas show the similarities and differences in the actors and the policies adopted in each case. As a result of historical and structural developments in Bahia and Texas, Cetrel operates under pollution-control standards and technologies for protecting the environment and workers that are similar to those of the GCA. This convergent trend is characterized as dependent convergence between developing and developed countries. The author makes recommendations for stronger international solidarity among progressive forces in developed and developing countries to promote preventive alternatives to pollution control.

C. Eduardo Siqueira, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D., is research assistant professor in the Department of Work Environment of the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is currently involved in the project Promoting Health and Safe Employment in Healthcare, which addresses health disparities among employees in health care facilities in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He has evaluated the impact of health and safety training provided by the staff of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), under a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences hazardous waste and emergency response training grant. Dr. Siqueira was formerly an active member of the health and safety staff of AFSCME, training workers in emergency response to chemical incidents. Dr. Siqueira graduated as a general physician from the School of Medicine, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He received his master's from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and obtained his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Occupational safety and health professionals and students; public health professionals and students; physicians and medical students with an interest in occupational medicine; political scientists, sociologists, and other social scientists with an interest in environmental and health and safety issues; government policy makers, labor and environmental activists, and historians; professionals and students of international health; officials of international health, environmental and development agencies; and the informed general reader.

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Dependent Convergence: The Struggle to Control Petrochemical Hazards in Brazil and the United States

Author: Carlos Eduardo Siqueira
Cloth ISBN:
ePub ISBN:
Page Count: 272
Copyright: 2003

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