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Water & pollution pioneers. Women Pioneers for the Environment lecture 2 Unit 2. Ellen Swallow (1842-1911). 1870 – applied MIT, 1 st woman free so no one would think she was actually a student Graduated from Vasser Poor, tutored to pay for classes at vasser

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Water pollution pioneers l.jpg

Water & pollution pioneers

Women Pioneers for the Environment lecture 2 Unit 2

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Ellen Swallow (1842-1911)

  • 1870 – applied MIT, 1st woman

    • free so no one would think she was actually a student

  • Graduated from Vasser

  • Poor, tutored to pay for classes at vasser

  • Married late in life, no kids

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Ellen Swallow (Richards)

  • Instructor at MIT – not paid,

  • Ran her own consulting business

  • Campaigned for clean water

  • Designed a sewage plant for Poughkeepsie

  • Specialized in water chemistry

  • 1st to recognize hazards of sewage

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Lois Gibbs 1946-

  • Uneducated housewife

  • Son ill – epilespy, asthma w/in 4 months of moving to Love Canal

  • Saw many other sick children, realized something was wrong.

    • Cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, rashes

  • 1st test case of EPA

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Love canal

  • Love Canal is a 16-acre landfill Niagara Falls, New York,

  • In the 1890s, a canal was excavated to provide hydroelectric power. Instead, it was later used by Hooker Electrochemical for disposal of over 21,000 tons of various chemical wastes.

  • Dumping ceased in 1952, and in 1953 the disposal area was covered and deeded to the Niagara Falls Board of Education.

  • Extensive development occurred near the site, including construction of an elementary school and numerous homes.

  • Problems with odors and residues, first reported at the site during the 1960s, increased in the 1970s as the water table rose, bringing contaminated ground water to the surface.

  • 77,000 people affected

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Problems at love canal

  • Love Canal – Chronic problem, not obvious

  • Acute vs chronic poisoning:

  • Acute –

    • obvious, death, illiness or visual symptoms immediately after exposure

  • Chronic –

    • sublethal, build up over years, difficult to prove

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Michiko Ishimuri

  • Fisherman’s daughter, uneducated

  • Sick child, Noticed other villagers w/ disease

  • Minamata Disease – Dancing Cats disease

  • Methyl mercury

  • Author - Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow

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  • Approximately 80% of the mercury released from human activities fossil fuel combustion, mining, and smelting, and from solid waste incineration.

  • About 15% released to the soil from fertilizers, fungicides,

  • municipal solid waste (for example, from waste that contains discarded batteries, electrical switches, flourescent light bulbs or thermometers).

  • An additional 5% is released from industrial wastewater to water in the environment.

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Effect of mercury

  • permanent damage

    • brain and kidneys.

  • personality changes (irritability, shyness, nervousness),

  • tremors, changes in vision (constriction (or narrowing) of the visual field), deafness, muscle incoordination, loss of sensation, and difficulties with memory.

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation.

  • Damage to the lining of the mouth and lungs

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Michiko Ishimuri cont

  • Chisso factory – own scientists knew methylmercury was cause of villagers disease

  • 1968 –she petitioned for help in town newspaper

  • Worker’s union supported Chisso company, not workers or fisherman or their families

  • Lawsuit 1973, finally settled 1977, gave 1 million dollars to compensate victims

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Illinois Mercury

  • Illinois Fish Advisory

  • Who’s at risk?

  • What chemicals?

  • What species involved?

  • Do not eat – type of fish? chemical

    – Illinois River

    • Lake Taylorville

    • Arrowhead River

    • Little Grassy River

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Maria Cherkosova 1938-

  • Russian Scientist, educated PhD

  • Married w/ 2 kids

  • Headed Center for Ecological Programs

  • Work to clean rivers, deal with nuclear contaimation

  • Focusing on sickness in children from rivers (Volga)

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Maria Guminska – 1928- 1998

  • Raised in country, no pollutants, moved to city

  • Married, husband died of cancer – she thought from city

  • Phd scientist, writer, activist

  • Osteoflouresis – aluminum smelter

    • a generalized disturbance of bones caused by chronic fluorine poisoning and characterized by the development of multiple exostoses. There is lameness, ease of fracture of bones and mottling and pitting of the teeth.

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The Flouride Controversy

  • The Flouride Controversy – Whole health medicine:

  • http://www.wholebodymed.com/library_education_details.php?pid=21

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Rachel Carson

  • DDT

  • Silent Spring

  • MS in chemistry

  • Naturalist, also wrote best seller books about nature

  • Influenced JFK to start Environmental Protection Agency

  • Will cover next unit/ student report

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Cathy Hinds

  • East Gray, Maine

  • Water quality, wells contaiminated

  • Miscarriages, stillborn babies

  • Saw cats w/ same problem

  • Watch program on Love canal, realized same problems,

  • Worked with Lois Gibbs,

  • McKinn Toxic waste site – dealt with Miltary toxic dump site, eventually got US Defense dept to work on w/ superfund.

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Application to current problems:

  • Superfund site

  • http://www.epa.gov/superfund/

  • Using “tools” , investigate 5 cities in the US