Online Program

Oil riches and health inequities: Comparing experiences in the petro-states of the United States and Mexico over the 20th century

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 10:35 a.m. - 10:55 a.m.

Christopher Sellers, M.D., Ph.D., Department of History, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Both the United States and Mexico emerged over the twentieth century as leading sources of the world's oil, yet via very different political economies of resource extraction. These differences wrought contrasting consequences for the health and well-being of those in oil-producing regions. Into the 1930's, private companies, many of them increasingly multinational, handled petroleum production both in the American states of California and Texas and in Mexican oil producing states such as Veracruz. But with the expropriation of 1938, the federal government's Petroleros Mexicanos itself took charge over Mexican oil production. To determine just what the long-term health and other consequences were of such starkly diverging pathways of resource development, I've been conducting an extended, ongoing study “on the ground,” of the environmental health history of Texas' Beaumont-Port Arthur area and of Veracruz's Coatzacoalcos-Minatitlan area. My paper seeks to pull together some preliminary conclusions about the hazards and health issues faced these two petroleum-rich regions, one in the developed and the other in the developing world. I'll consider differences, and related inequities, in the built environment and urbanizing, in public health institutions and their reach, in the local distribution of health risks by race and class, and in health-related activism.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify ways that national and supranational political economies of resource development may influence local health, disease, and environmental risks Compare ways that the local environmental, medical, and public health engagements and health or health-hazard inequities may differ between resource-rich regions in case studies sent in the developed versus the developing world

Keyword(s): Environmental Health Hazards, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal of an NSF grant for the "Uneven Development of Industrial Hazards," which provided the funds for the research on which I will report. I am also the author of multiples volumes on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.