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ESEP
Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 22:13-24 (2022)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00199

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Bioethical analysis of sanitary engineering: a critical assessment of the profession at the crossroads of environmental and public health ethics

Igor Eterović, Toni Buterin*

Department of Social Sciences and Medical Humanities, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine, B. Branchetta 20, 51 000 Rijeka, Croatia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Sanitary engineering is burdened by several challenges that attract bioethical attention: (1) there are many ambiguities regarding the definition of the profession; (2) its methodology seems to be a combination of several approaches from different sciences; and (3) it often appears to be an amalgam of different disciplines. We argue that the bioethical perspective helps to show that these features can be taken as a stimulating challenge. Moreover, bioethics may illuminate how these features can become an asset to sanitary engineering in light of the growing need for holistic approaches. First, we present a bioethical analysis of the aforementioned features as a useful way to clarify and strengthen the identity of the profession. Second, we argue that professional ethics have received the least attention, but are crucial to giving the profession stronger independence and professional identity and to creating a unique worldview at the crossroads of environmental and public health ethics. Finally, we propose a general framework of sound professional ethics of sanitary engineering as a necessary step towards rethinking the core values of the profession, clearly articulating a genuine professional ethic, and reforming educational politics related to professional education.


KEY WORDS: Sanitary engineering · Bioethics · Professional education · Environmental ethics · Public health ethics


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Cite this article as: Eterović I, Buterin T (2022) Bioethical analysis of sanitary engineering: a critical assessment of the profession at the crossroads of environmental and public health ethics. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 22:13-24. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00199

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