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6 Remote Warehouse Oceanography- General

Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

by

Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Smelting is an industrial process involving the extraction of metal from ore. During this process, impurities in oreandmdash;including arsenic, lead, and cadmiumandmdash;may be released from smoke stacks, contaminating air, water, and soil with toxic-heavy metals.

The problem of public health harm from smelter emissions received little official attention for much for the twentieth century. Though people living near smelters periodically complained that their health was impaired by both sulfur dioxide and heavy metals, for much of the century there was strong deference to industry claims that smelter operations were a nuisance and not a serious threat to health. It was only when the majority of children living near the El Paso, Texas, smelter were discovered to be lead-exposed in the early 1970s that systematic, independent investigation of exposure to heavy metals in smelting communities began. Following El Paso, an even more serious led poisoning epidemic was discovered around the Bunker Hill smelter in northern Idaho. In Tacoma, Washington, a copper smelter exposed children to arsenicandmdash;a carcinogenic threat.

Thoroughly grounded in extensive archival research, Tainted Earth traces the rise of public health concerns about nonferrous smelting in the western United States, focusing on three major facilities: Tacoma, Washington; El Paso, Texas; and Bunker Hill, Idaho. Marianne Sullivan documents the response from community residents, public health scientists, the industry, and the government to pollution from smelters as well as the long road to protecting public health and the environment. Placing the environmental and public health aspects of smelting in historical context, the book connects local incidents to national stories on the regulation of airborne toxic metals.

The nonferrous smelting industry has left a toxic legacy in the United States and around the world. Unless these toxic metals are cleaned up, they will persist in the environment and may sicken peopleandmdash;children in particularandmdash;for generations to come. The twentieth-century struggle to control smelter pollution shares many similarities with public health battles with such industries as tobacco and asbestos where industry supported science created doubt about harm, and reluctant government regulators did not take decisive action to protect the publicandrsquo;s health.

Synopsis:

Poison in the Wellprovides a balanced look at the policy decisions, scientific conflicts, public relations strategies, and the myriad mishaps and subsequent cover-ups that were born out of the dilemma of where to house deadly nuclear materials. Jacob Darwin Hamblin traces the development of the issue in Western countries from the end of World War II to the blossoming of the environmental movement in the early 1970s.

Synopsis:

Thoroughly grounded in extensive archival research, Tainted Earth traces the rise of public health concerns about nonferrous smelting in the western United States, focusing on three major facilities: Tacoma, Washington; El Paso, Texas; and Bunker Hill, Idaho. It documents the response from community residents, public health scientists, the industry, and the government to pollution from smelters and the long road to protecting public health and the environment.

Synopsis:

In the early 1990s, Russian President Boris Yeltsin revealed that for the previous thirty years the Soviet Union had dumped vast amounts of dangerous radioactive waste into rivers and seas in blatant violation of international agreements. The disclosure caused outrage throughout the Western world, particularly since officials from the Soviet Union had denounced environmental pollution by the United States and Britain throughout the cold war.

Poison in the Well provides a balanced look at the policy decisions, scientific conflicts, public relations strategies, and the myriad mishaps and subsequent cover-ups that were born out of the dilemma of where to house deadly nuclear materials. Why did scientists and politicians choose the sea for waste disposal? How did negotiations about the uses of the sea change the way scientists, government officials, and ultimately the lay public envisioned the oceans? Jacob Darwin Hamblin traces the development of the issue in Western countries from the end of World War II to the blossoming of the environmental movement in the early 1970s.

This is an important book for students and scholars in the history of science who want to explore a striking case study of the conflicts that so often occur at the intersection of science, politics, and international diplomacy.

Synopsis:

In the early 1990s, Russian President Boris Yeltsin revealed that for the previous thirty years the Soviet Union had dumped vast amounts of dangerous radioactive waste into rivers and seas in blatant violation of international agreements. The disclosure caused outrage throughout the Western world, particularly since officials from the Soviet Union had denounced environmental pollution by the United States and Britain throughout the cold war while undertaking their own radioactive dumping in secret.

It may be instructive to link environmental pollution to the Soviet Union's corruption and failed political ideology, but as Jacob Hamblin writes in Poison in the Well, there is much to learn from the processes that shaped these same issues in the West. The United States and Britain were the first countries to begin sealing radioactive waste into large metal drums and disposing of them in oceans. These countries' policy decisions, scientific conflicts, public relations strategies, not to mention mishaps and subsequent cover-ups, defy convenient generalizations about secrecy and openness in the East and West during the cold war era. Why did scientists and politicians choose the sea for waste disposal? How did negotiations about the uses of the sea change the way scientists, government officials, and ultimately the lay public envisioned the oceans? This book traces the development of the issue from the end of World War II to the blossoming of the environmental movement in the early 1970s. The salient difficulty was that the by-products of the nuclear age were deadly and would remain so for indefinite periods of time. Many controversial solutions were proposed over the years, and indeed the problem has yet to be solved: even today's scientists and politicians clash over plans to house the nation's most dangerous materials in Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

About the Author

Jacob Darwin Hamblin is an assistant professor of history at Oregon State University.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1 Threshold Illusions

Chapter 2 Radiation Anxieties

Chapter 3 The Other Atomic Scientists

Chapter 4 Forging an International Concensus

Chapter 5 No Atomic Graveyards

Chapter 6 The Environment as Cold War Terrain

Chapter 7 Purely for Political Reasons

Chapter 8 Confronting Environmentalism

Conclusion

Product Details

ISBN:
9780813546742
Author:
Hamblin, Jacob Darwin
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Author:
Sullivan, Marianne
Subject:
Oceans & Seas
Subject:
Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century/Nuclear Age
Subject:
Ecosystems & Habitats - Oceans & Seas
Subject:
History
Subject:
Oceanography-General
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
regulating airborne toxic metals
Subject:
anthropogenic arsenic contamination Tacoma Washington
Subject:
lead poisoningand#160; El Paso and Kellog Idaho
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Critical Issues in Health and Medicine
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
5 photographs, 4 maps
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Engineering » Engineering » History
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Pollution
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Ocean and Marine Biology
Science and Mathematics » Oceanography » General

Poison in the Well: Radioactive Waste in the Oceans at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age New Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Rutgers University Press - English 9780813546742 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Poison in the Wellprovides a balanced look at the policy decisions, scientific conflicts, public relations strategies, and the myriad mishaps and subsequent cover-ups that were born out of the dilemma of where to house deadly nuclear materials. Jacob Darwin Hamblin traces the development of the issue in Western countries from the end of World War II to the blossoming of the environmental movement in the early 1970s.
"Synopsis" by ,

Thoroughly grounded in extensive archival research, Tainted Earth traces the rise of public health concerns about nonferrous smelting in the western United States, focusing on three major facilities: Tacoma, Washington; El Paso, Texas; and Bunker Hill, Idaho. It documents the response from community residents, public health scientists, the industry, and the government to pollution from smelters and the long road to protecting public health and the environment.

"Synopsis" by ,

In the early 1990s, Russian President Boris Yeltsin revealed that for the previous thirty years the Soviet Union had dumped vast amounts of dangerous radioactive waste into rivers and seas in blatant violation of international agreements. The disclosure caused outrage throughout the Western world, particularly since officials from the Soviet Union had denounced environmental pollution by the United States and Britain throughout the cold war.

Poison in the Well provides a balanced look at the policy decisions, scientific conflicts, public relations strategies, and the myriad mishaps and subsequent cover-ups that were born out of the dilemma of where to house deadly nuclear materials. Why did scientists and politicians choose the sea for waste disposal? How did negotiations about the uses of the sea change the way scientists, government officials, and ultimately the lay public envisioned the oceans? Jacob Darwin Hamblin traces the development of the issue in Western countries from the end of World War II to the blossoming of the environmental movement in the early 1970s.

This is an important book for students and scholars in the history of science who want to explore a striking case study of the conflicts that so often occur at the intersection of science, politics, and international diplomacy.

"Synopsis" by , In the early 1990s, Russian President Boris Yeltsin revealed that for the previous thirty years the Soviet Union had dumped vast amounts of dangerous radioactive waste into rivers and seas in blatant violation of international agreements. The disclosure caused outrage throughout the Western world, particularly since officials from the Soviet Union had denounced environmental pollution by the United States and Britain throughout the cold war while undertaking their own radioactive dumping in secret.

It may be instructive to link environmental pollution to the Soviet Union's corruption and failed political ideology, but as Jacob Hamblin writes in Poison in the Well, there is much to learn from the processes that shaped these same issues in the West. The United States and Britain were the first countries to begin sealing radioactive waste into large metal drums and disposing of them in oceans. These countries' policy decisions, scientific conflicts, public relations strategies, not to mention mishaps and subsequent cover-ups, defy convenient generalizations about secrecy and openness in the East and West during the cold war era. Why did scientists and politicians choose the sea for waste disposal? How did negotiations about the uses of the sea change the way scientists, government officials, and ultimately the lay public envisioned the oceans? This book traces the development of the issue from the end of World War II to the blossoming of the environmental movement in the early 1970s. The salient difficulty was that the by-products of the nuclear age were deadly and would remain so for indefinite periods of time. Many controversial solutions were proposed over the years, and indeed the problem has yet to be solved: even today's scientists and politicians clash over plans to house the nation's most dangerous materials in Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

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