The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution

The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution

"... The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution": Taking Action in a Landmark Case Against the Lead-Paint Industry

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reading Encounters with the Archdruid brought an interesting perspective to work I am doing for another class. I have been researching the case Sierra Club v. Morton and other early conservation issues in environmental law. The case, which was heard in the early 1970s, was about a controversy over Mineral Kind Valley and the desire to build a ski resort in the area. The Sierra Club brought the case up because they were concerned that the ski resort would adversely affect the aesthetic beauty of the area and their enjoyment of the area. The book was written before the case went to court, but it did briefly discuss the issue in the second part. Looking at both this case and reading about similar issues regarding conservation and development helped me to better understand how the public thought about conservation at that time. The case gave citizens the right to enforce environmental laws through the judicial process. The case and the book really helped me to understand how environmental conservation and protection began in the legal world and how the line between preserving the natural world and allowing humans to enjoy it has changed over time.

In another realm of environmental law, the research for our project regarding industrial pollution is really progressing. I have begun to look at current social and health issues that have resulted from the chemical industries. One of the things that really grabbed my attention this week was in regards to the recent controversy over the DuPont Co. and the use of chemicals in Teflon. The company failed to inform its consumers about the risks of the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, and is now facing the consequences. This chemical has been shown to cause cancer in animals and it is highly possible that it would have the same effects in humans. The DuPont Co. was not willing to take full responsibility, but has agreed to phase out the chemical within the next ten years. Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Working Group are working to have Teflon on the banned substance list. Studies have also shown that perfluorooctanoic acid is polluting groundwater in Minnesota as a result of the manufacturing company 3M. The articles I read regarding these problems really reinforced for me how important the issue of industrial moral responsibility is for human health and the environment.


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