Air Pollution & Chemical Safety

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Killer Smog
“On Oct. 26, 1948, the small steel town of Donora, Pa., was blanketed by a thick, toxic smog. Within a week, some 20 people had died. Nothing was done to clean up the zinc mill responsible, however, just as little was done in 1952, when a ‘killer smog’ in London caused at least 2,800 deaths in one week.”
— Amanda Paulson, Christian Science Monitor

“Major federal clean air laws became a legacy of this environmental disaster that focused national attention on air pollution. In late October of 1948, a heavy fog blanketed this valley, and as the days passed, the fog became a thick, acrid smog that left about 20 people dead and thousands ill. Not until October 31 did the Donora Zinc Works shut down its furnaces — just hours before rain finally dispersed the smog.”
— From the plaque erected by Justin Shawley in Donora, PA
Killer Smog

Asbestos & Radon
Asbestos used to be widely employed because of its ability to fireproof hardened materials, whether roof sheets, floor tiles, furnaces and wiring, or cement building blocks. Once invisible particles of asbestos are deeply inhaled into the lung, they can leave telltale scars that can give rise – sometimes forty years later – to lung cancer or to mesothelioma.
Asbestos & Radon
Scientists protest about Quebec’s “hypocrisy” over export of asbestos.

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