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Case Study Of The Love Canal Environmental Disaster

1095 words - 5 pages

Case Study of the Love Canal Environmental Disaster

In May of 1892 a man named William T. Love arrived in Niagara Falls with a long-held dream of building a carefully planned industrial city with convenient access to inexpensive water power and major markets. The plan included the construction of a navigable power canal between the upper and lower Niagara Rivers which would service a massive industrial complex. The transportation of water would be supplied by the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. However, due to the country suddenly finding itself in the middle of a full-scale economic depression and the fact that Louis Tesla had just discovered a way to transmit electrical power ...view middle of the document...

To assess a person’s exposure to natural and synthetic chemicals, scientists use a scientific technique called biomonitoring and risk assessment. Scientists measure and examine the concentration of chemicals in a person’s tissues and fluids such as breast milk, blood, urine and sometimes expelled air. The amounts of natural and manufactured chemicals that have entered the body are determined by the data gathered from biomonitoring. This information helps determine the sources of chemical exposure, possible health effects, and ways to reduce or prevent future exposure. The only direct method of determining if people and populations have been exposed to particular substances and what the magnitudes are is biomonitoring (Kamrin, 2004). The five steps involved in risk assessment are; identify the hazards, decide who might be harmed and how, evaluate the risks and decide on precaution, record your findings and implement them, and review your assessment and update if necessary. Whalen (1978), "The State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation in the early spring of 1978 launched an intensive air, soil and groundwater sampling and analysis program following qualitative identification of a number of organic compounds in the basements of 11 homes adjacent to the Love Canal” (Environmental Sampling).
The five steps involved in risk assessment were applied to this case by the strange odors and substances that were reported by residents and from the pieces of phosphorus that made their way to the surface of the schoolyard, seeing that the schoolyard children and newborn babies were being affected the most. Because of these facts and that the entire population was at increased risk of leukemia, the citizens were evacuated from their homes, with pregnant women and infants being among the first to be taken out (Beck, 1979). A plan was set in motion to implement technical procedures designed to detoxify the Canal area. A trench system to drain chemicals from the Canal is part of the plan. The Love Canal site has been routinely monitored and in September 2004 the area was taken off the Superfund list due to certain clean-up goals having been reached, although much of the Canal is sectioned off by a chain-link fence (Brook, 2006).
Sentinel organisms, or indicator species that accumulate pollutants in their tissues from the surrounding environment or from food is one example of...

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