Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
many people have a “top 10 list” of the most crucial events that have shaped
the environmental agenda. Some of the most notorious and infamous incidents
Torrey Canyon tanker oil spill in the English Channel (March 18, 1967)
Love Canal hazardous waste site, Niagara Falls, New York (discovered in
the 1970s)
Seveso, Italy, explosion disaster, release of dioxin (July 10, 1976)
Bhopal, India, methylisocyanate explosion and toxic cloud (December 3,
Exxon Valdez tanker oil spill, Prince William Sound, Alaska (March 24,
Prestige tanker oil spill, off the Spanish coast (November 13, 2002)
These all involved chemical pollutants, but important nuclear events have also
been extremely influential in our perception of pollution and threats to pub-
lic health. Most notably, the cases of Three Mile Island, in Dauphin County,
Pennsylvania (March 28, 1979) and the Chernobyl nuclear power-plant disaster
in the Ukraine (April 26, 1986) have had an unquestionable impact not only
on nuclear power but also on aspects of environmental policy, such as commu-
nity “right-to-know” and the importance of risk assessment, management, and
Numerous defense- and war-related incidents have also had a major influ-
ence on the public's perception of environmental safety. For example, the atomic
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and August 9, 1945, respec-
tively) were the world's first entrees to the chronic illness and mortality (e.g.,
leukemia, radiation disease) that could be linked directly to radiation exposure.
Similarly, use of the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War (used be-
tween 1961 and 1970) made us aware of the importance of the latency period ,
so that we now know that possible effects may not be manifested until years or
decades after pesticide exposure. The Agent Orange problem also illustrates the
problem of uncertainty in characterizing and enumerating effects. There is no
consensus on whether the symptoms and disorders suggested as being linked to
Agent Orange are sufficiently strong and well documented (i.e., provide weight
of evidence) to support cause and effect. However, there is enough anecdotal
evidence that the effects from these exposures should at least be considered to be
Let us consider three cases that demonstrate the problem of nonintegrative
approaches to design.
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