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Lecture 8

ASCI 1110 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Acetaldehyde, Pesticide, Love Canal

Arts and Sciences
Course Code
ASCI 1110
Sofie Lachapelle

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ASCI1110 Lec8 2 Nov 2015
The Love Canal
Post-War Japan and the Minamata Disease
Chisso Corporation (1907)
o 1932- production of acetaldehyde
o Methyl mercury- waste product dump directly into the bay
o 1953- residents notice their cats/dogs that are fed the fish scraps are acting very
Foaming at the mouth, erratic behaviour, convulsions, throwing
themselves into the lake to die
Same is happening to some humans that are eating the fish
o Villagers begin to suspect that Chisso has something to do with it the fish near
the waste area are floating dead at the surface
o People are becoming sick from ingesting heavy metals (Mercury) from the
contamination of the fish
o Chisso provides jobs, schools, hospitals, so it is seen as a necessary sacrifice to
endure in order to progress the country
o 1959- 14,000 fishermen swarm the company
Everyone is siding with Chisso, and beginning to hate the fishermen
Some people refused to serve fishermen
o Many companies around the world are starting to dump their waste into water
systems (end of the 50’s)
o After 35 years, Chisso starts to realize their responsibility and stopped dumping
wastes in the environment
Many families sued Chisso and won, and got hand-written apologies from
the president
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962)
The dangers of unchecked use of chemicals such as DDT (Dicholoro-diphenyl-
trichloroethane) in the era of industry and specialists
Book called Silent Spring because of the time that the robins all died from eating worms
that were contaminated by chemicals in the ground
1969: the National Environment Protection Act
1972: Pesticide Control Act
1974: Toxic Substances Control Act
The Love Canal and Grassroots Activism
How did the environment disaster come to light?
o Historical amnesia then and now
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