January 16, 2020: IRES Student Seminar with Bronwyn McIlroy-Young and Harold Eyster

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


*** CLICK HERE TO VIEW RECORDING (Harold 04:08-31:36 ) (Bronwyn 32:38-1:02:06)***

Chemical controversy: exploring scientific disagreements about the assessment of endocrine disrupting chemicals

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) pose a wicked dilemma for science and regulation. EDCs interact with the endocrine (hormonal) system effecting development and reproduction. They are constitutive of numerous products that promote health, nutrition and beauty; however, EDCs also pose a potential threat to human and environmental health. Globally, scientists lack consensus over how to assess EDC risk: some advocate for a precautionary, hazard categorization approach; others for a more permissive risk assessment approach. Each side accuses the other of being unscientific and biased. This controversy has exacerbated difficulties in developing EDC regulation. Our study employed focus groups with scientists supporting a hazard and risk approach. The findings reveal fundamental differences in the framing of the challenge posed by EDCs, including the nature of the EDC problem, influences on chemical policymaking, and the roles of scientists in supporting or impeding effective regulation.

Bronwyn McIlroy-Young

IRES MA Program


Bronwyn is a second year Masters student at UBC working with Dr Gunilla Oberg at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. She received her Bachelors in Knowledge Integration from the University of Waterloo in 2018 with her honour’s thesis on weather and climate change communication. Bronwyn’s research interests include risk perception, environmental justice, and values in post-normal science. Her Masters research explores scientific controversy around endocrine disrupting chemicals. She hopes her work will help to improve the conduct and communication of science for environmental policy.