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Woburn Case Study
Transcript of Woburn Case Study
Wells G and H
This story begins in 1972, as a lone woman's search for answers in Woburn, Massachusetts, a working class city with a population just under 40,000. Located twelve miles north of Boston, Woburn is a legacy of being a center of industrial and chemical production since its founding in 1642. In the 1850's, it became a central place for leather-tanning factories. In the early 1900's, chemical factories producing arsenic-based insecticides, textiles, paper and animal based glues moved to Woburn.
What's wrong with the water?
6.) Watch section of "A Civil Action" movie.
Jimmy Anderson was four years old when doctors told his mother Anne that Jimmy had a rare form of childhood cancer -- acute lymphocytic leukemia. After Jimmy's diagnosis, Anne began to hear about other children in her neighborhood who had also contracted this rare disease. Donna Robbins, who belonged to the same church as Anne, her son Robbie, also had leukemia. The Zona's son Michael, living down the block from Anne - The Toomey's son, Patrick; all these children had the same rare form of leukemia. Twelve children had leukemia, eight of them within a 1⁄2 mile radius, six of them living almost next door to each other. These eight families in the same neighborhood in Woburn discovered that they all had something in common -- that their children were afflicted with this rare and fatal illness.
2.) Then read the
"What is Leukemia?"
4.) Look at Woburn Map: Childhood Leukemia Cases: 1964 - 1986
Compare this map to the map in the front
of the "A Civil Action" book.
The Anderson home is in the
right hand corner of the map.
Also, note where wells G and H are located.
5.) Students read page 21 (last paragraph)
to page 24 in groups
from "A Civil Action" book.
Would you drink it?
In 1979, the Woburn Times, a local newspaper, reported that 184 buried barrels that had contained chemicals had been discovered near to the site where the City of Woburn had drilled two wells, G and H for drinking water. This area was in proximity to industry and close to the Aberjona River.
9:36 - 14:40
8.) Watch end of movie -
1:30:21 - 1:32:50
1:32:50 - 1:35:12 (optional)
1:45:00 - 1:49:26
1.) Read page 14 in
"A Civil Action"
by Jonathan Harr
3.) Read the "Cancer Cluster" article
Families first meet with
7.) Complete Woburn Case Study