Research Effect of Environmental Disasters on Human Reproductive Health
The developed world had undergone industrial revolution from early 1800s and by 1892; it was in its dying embers focus moving to sophistication and consolidation of industries. Transport routes, education of skilled labour, production technology, management, military prowess and industry expansion were now the fad.
In the transport industry, investment was heading into railways and improving water transport corridors. Therefore, when William T. Love in 1892, had a proposal to create a by connecting the upper and lower Niagara River, it was a brilliant idea of the times.
Attracting finances, the project begun in earnest only to collapse after economic depression due to impending world war. In 1920, the local municipal council did for use as a landfill (Brayan, N., 2003).
The year is 1942; Hooker Chemicals starts depositing over 20,000 tons of chemical waste at the Love Canal over the next eight consecutive years. Hooker Chemicals seals Love Canal off with impregnable clay, sells the land to the Educational Board for $1 and absolves itself in a contract from any consequent legal action (1953).
The impact on the environment begins years later, when construction activities in the area permeate the canal, after a rapid increase in the population.
into the soil of the surrounding area under the guidance of underground streams resulting in health complications of the community of Love Canal, New York; these complications range from reproductive health complications and low child mortality to increase in cancer cases (Gibbs, L. M., 1998).
Mothers had more miscarriages and premature pregnancies; Children born were of low birth weight and had higher deformities per 100 children than other areas of New York. The municipal council, on the other hand, was dismissing the health complications as old wives tales.
This research paper will look at previous research by New York State Department of Health to ascertain whether, a connection exists between the chemicals in Love Canal and reproductive health of its 1970s residents.
It will compare Love Canal effect on reproductive health as a whole with the effect of individual chemicals found at Love Canal on reproductive health in other areas.
A chronology of the events that faced the community of Love Canal is essential to gain a perspective of the environmental scandal. Lois Gibbs in her 20th Anniversary edition book Love Canal: The Story- continues (1998) achieves these objectives.
Gibbs had a sick child and was requesting for transfer of her child from the school. While the school was obstructing her efforts, she had a chance of looking into history of Love Canal.
Additionally, she undertook a preliminary research, using results to rally fellow parents to pressure the New York Department of Health to look into effect of Love Canal on health of their children leading to the founding of Love Canal Parents Movement (1978).
Apart from lessons from love canal project providing a wealth of information as a public resource, its article, History of Love Canal gives additional background.
In The Love Canal Disaster: An Error in Engineering or Public Policy? Joshua Hertz (1996) points to the effect lack of information by Hooker Chemicals about Love Canal had on the community.
Hooker Chemical had put its best foot forward in securing the canal from exposure to the environment; covering it all around with impermeable clay. This clay would withstand seepage of chemicals to the surrounding soil.
However, construction of a school a top of it did open the top of the landfill for rainwater. Additionally, drainage pipe construction through the chemical landfill created an allowance for chemicals to leak.
The did publish a report, id: NYD000606947 in 1983. It details actions that Environmental Protection Agency took to clean the environment off the 20,000 tons of chemicals.
First was to contain the landfill chemical waste from further seepage. Second was eliminating the effect of seepage on the and sewage system. Third was disposal of chemical waste and excavation of the school built on top of the landfill. Finally, was maintenance of homes at Love Canal area.
After much public complaint, the New York Department of Health did employ a contractor in 1976, the Calspan Corporation to look into the complaints. It found toxic chemicals in the area, located near the landfill. Additionally, the area drainage system was behind spread of toxic chemicals within the area.
The Department did not implement this study. It was in March 1978 that it undertook its own study Love Canal Public Health Time Bomb (1978).
The study apart begun researching on soil composition to obtain the effect the chemicals had on the area surrounding the landfill. Later it studied health problems brought about by the over 20,000 tons chemical waste, focusing on its effect on the high rate of birth defects and miscarriages.
Love Canal follow up health study (1996), is a comprehensive study by the New York State Department of Health. It is a 20-year follow up of Love canal former residents.
The In-depth study had a focus several key areas: mortality, cancer, chemical contamination of blood and reproductive health. Their results, particularly in reproductive health, provide the basis of this study.
The research on reproductive health will base it on secondary data of past research carried out. This is on the basis that the lack ability to collect primary data, due to lack of funding and sufficient in depth researchers to collect data from former residents of Love Canal.
Further, ability to obtain records of 1940-1980 residents is a strenuous activity due to litigation and the seeking of private information. Therefore, secondary data collection will be from research undertaken by the New York Department of health 1978 and 1996.
Love Canal Public Health Time Bomb (1978) was a research undertaken by the New York Department of Health while facing an amounting amassing public and political pressure. It was a study looking into health complications reported in women of the high rate of miscarriages and birth defects.
Love Canal Follow Up Health Study (1996) was a research undertaken by the New York Department of health. The carrying out of the research was 20 years after the relocation of residents from Love Canal. It was a study, which had a focus on four areas: mortality, cancer, chemical contamination of blood and reproductive health.
The assessment of Love Canal twenty years later was to take a long-term assessment on the health of the residents of Love Canal (1940-1980). It was inclusive of a comparison group of women in Upstate New York and Niagara counties.