Tuesday, March 16, 2010

crying wolf and blaming markets vs. the govt: Love Canal, 30 years later

From Ronald Bailey in Reason...

In February 1981, Reason ran a major investigative article on the Love Canal scandal, in which industrial chemical dump leaks were blamed for birth defects and cancer in a neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York....[Eric] Zuesse showed that Hooker ElectroChemical had adequately sealed the wastes and had repeatedly warned that the site should never be developed. He noted that chemicals began leaking out only after local and state agencies willfully breached the dump site's clay seal as part of a development scheme.

Although it wasn't his focus, Zuesse also expressed skepticism about some of the health concerns that circulated after Love Canal residents were exposed to the chemical wastes....Zuesse's skepticism was warranted. In 2009 New York state published its findings in a tracking study that has been running since 1996...Love Canal residents are not especially prone to early mortality, cancer, or birth defects.


At March 16, 2010 at 10:37 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

I doubt it would have been acceptable to ask residents of Love Canal to wait 30 years to see if their exposure to toxic waste lead to an increase in premature mortality, cancer or birth defects.

At March 17, 2010 at 9:13 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Agreed, but now we know. Science should help us with such things, as we loo forward, yes?

It also fits the broader discussion about the importance of Science, the validity of science, and the intersection of science and politics.


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