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The Tragedy of Love Canal

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Maddy Salzman

on 8 October 2012

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Transcript of The Tragedy of Love Canal

The Tragedy At Love Canal BENZENE What Should Have Been Done? Julianne, Joe, Jon, Blessan, Maddy Utilitarian Approach Ethical Considerations Responses and Outcomes As engineers, are we ethically bound to know the effects of the chemicals we use?

Who was in the wrong - Hooker Chemical or the Niagara Falls School Board?

Is it morally acceptable to use people as means to an end? Is the result of poisoning some a necessary evil for production?

How could situations like this one be avoided in the future? Questions For Discussion Moral right = highest net gain happiness

Killing can be morally right if the good resulted outweighs the loss Implication: the "good" of Hooker products could outweigh the"bad" caused by the chemicals Kantian Approach People can never be "mere means to an end"
Killing is never a morally acceptable answer
Good results do not matter Implication: No matter the chemical use, poisoning the land is never okay because it injures people without their consent How Did Residents of Love Canal Utilize Ethical Principles? Care Ethics: Think of all other people as someone's child

Our emotions can help us make good ethical decisions

Utilized by Love Canal mothers
to garner support $7 Million in clean up from NY State

1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act

Grassroots environmental movement

Benzene regulatory levels by the EPA
Current toxicity level maximum: 0.5mg/L
Reduction requirement to 2.0Mg/year maximum http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=529a4d44853084fbf3e34154ed592039&rgn=div6&view=text&node=40: Pre-Sale History Post-Sale History Proper Dioxin Management Highly toxic environmental pollutants - the "dirty dozen"

Endures in the body for a long time, causing reproductive and developmental problems.

Occurs naturally - forest fires, in food;
mainly byproduct of industrial processes

Short term & long term exposure.

3 ounces have the potential to kill 1 million people. Focus Questions Who seems to be at fault here?

What actions could have prevented this tragedy?

How did chemical engineers play a role in this incident? What is "Love Canal"?:
1890s: Connected the Niagara River to Lake Ontario
1940s: US Army dumping ground
1942: Hooker Chemical gets permission to dump waste
1954: School construction begins

Major Players:
Hooker Chemical
Niagara Falls School Board
Niagara Falls Residents

Love Canal, NY The public school district needed to expand due to a growing population

Hooker took members of the school board to show them the chemical waste on site

1953: Land sold for $1 http://reason.com/archives/1981/02/01/love-canal youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=tmC1RrUatik&NR=1 http://www.damninteresting.com/the-tragedy-of-the-love-canal/ "Give me Liberty. I've already got death."
- Neighborhood sign, 1978 Science of Dioxin Most countries monitor food supply - good control and practice

~130 pounds dioxin in Love Canal;
Chemicals will not decompose for
approximately 20,000 years

Best available method for contamination: Incineration

WHO - Stockholm Convention

Government regulation (EPA) Alternative Building Demonstration of Danger Dumping? Anticipate Problems http://www.dioxinfacts.org/sources_trends/trends_emissions.html "Dirty Dozen"

Widely-used chemical - as a solvent and reagent

Sources: cigarrete smoke, gasoline, industrial processes

Known to cause cancer

Breaks down slowly in water and soil

Regulation controlled by EPA http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/

http://www.onlineethics.org/cms/6534.aspx http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=38&tid=14 http://civil.engr.siu.edu/301I_Ray/he_love.htm transferrs the liability responsibility to the chairman of the Buildings Committee
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