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Chemical expertise under the influence of industry Volume 38, issue 3, Septembre 2020

Authors
* Sociologue, Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL University, CNRS, INRAE, UMR 7170-1427 IRISSO, Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 75016 Paris, France
** Sociologue, Université Paris-Dauphine, PSL University, CNRS, INRAE, UMR 7170-1427 IRISSO, Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 75016 Paris, France

This article analyzes how industry can influence public scientific expertise in the context of chemical regulation policies. Based on the ethnography of two expert committees, we show that the dominance of industries is facilitated by the limitations of the regulatory framework and by the ways in which data on chemical risks are generated. We analyze the private production of knowledge and of forms of “ignorance” as manifestations of power relations that strongly structure and orient the activities of these expert committees. Our analysis shows that the current problematization in terms of conflicts of interest, which implies direct financial links between a company and an expert, masks the structural influence of economic actors on public expertise.