Chemical contamination: institutional responses and actions of affected populations in Brazil and Portugal

Lúcia de Oliveira Fernandes João Arriscado Nunes Marcelo Firpo de Souza Porto About the authors

Abstract

Chemical contamination generates environmen tal pollution and health problems, among other direct and indirect impacts. This article focuses on two particular contaminated contexts in two countries: Brazil and Portugal. One case is Cidade dos Meninos, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a rural area, where there was industrial activity in the past and currently is a contaminated area. An other case study is Estarreja, city in the center of Portugal, an active chemical industry complex with past contamination by different toxics for health and present impacts of its activity. The article dis cusses the actions of the affected communities and the responses (and also the lack of response) of the institutions in charge of controlling and minimizing the effects of contamination in the local, regional and national levels. The analysis is based in an in tegrated approach relating processes usually sepa rated into the domains of "environment," "health," "social," "economics," "politics" and "justice," while maintaining close attention to the specificities of each case and context.

Keywords:
Environmental Pollution; Health; Chemi cal Contamination; Complexity; Uncertainty; Risk

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