While most chemicals produce, or have produced, direct and intentional effects, many may also cause significant unintended outcomes. In this regard, chemicals are ethically ambivalent. It is not easy to balance the positive and negative consequences, nor is it straightforward to include uncertain future effects within an ethical analysis. Therefore, it is pertinent to develop and implement a method for identifying, assessing, and balancing the ethical issues associated with the production and use of chemical substances. Such a method for accommodating an ethical evaluation is presented in this chapter, being tested and exemplified using the case of DDT. Within the DDT case three major clusters of ethical problems are identified: the first concerning environmental ethics while another relates to the impact on human health, including, in particular, the lethal, carcinogenic, and sub-lethal aspects introduced by suspected endocrine disrupting effects. The third ethical concern focuses on the subject of justice and the distribution of risks, costs, and benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthics of Chemistry : From Poison Gas to Climate Engineering
EditorsJoachim Schummer, Tom Børsen
Number of pages27
PublisherWorld Scientific
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-981-123-353-1
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-123-355-5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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