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Fuller, John G. The Poison that Fell from the Sky.

The Poison that Fell from the Sky: The Story of a Chemical Plague that Destroyed a Town and Threatens Us All
Fuller, John Grant
Random House, New York
0394424956 (Hardcover)
Table of Contents
poison, chemical industries, Italy, Meda, accidents, Icmesa, air, pollution, Seveso, tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, toxicology, Silent Spring, dioxin
English (en)
The Poison that Fell from the Sky, 1977
From the Dust Jacket
This book describes the disaster that befell a community when a local chemical factory exploded—it is a disaster that threatens us all.
This event happened to take place in Seveso, a small, thriving community near Milan, Italy. But, as the author shows us, it could have happened in Connecticut, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan ... or in any one of the hundreds of locations where the chemical industry manufactures its 30,000 products a year.
A few minutes after noon on July 10, 1976, just north of Seveso, a cloud of fumes escaped from a Swiss-owned factory that manufactured TCP, a chemical used in the cosmetics industry, in surgical soap—and as an herbicide similar to the defoliants used by the United States in Vietnam. After the initial explosion, the residents of the town noticed a shiny film on the fruits and vegetables in their neat gardens, but they continued to eat their produce, to let their children play in the grass, and to lead the pleasant lives they had built for themselves.
It was not until July 18 that warnings about possible poisoning were issued, and not until July 23 that the real danger was made known. At that point, people were taken from their homes and evacuated, with only the clothes they wore and "one small suitcase." Their lives have never been the same. Their children have sickened with a disfiguring and and life-threatening disease; old people have died and autopsies have revealed that the chemical fatally attacked them; pregnant women have borne birth-defective babies... At first these symptoms were limited to "Zone A," the area closest to the contamination. Soon there were signs that the residents of "Zone B" were affected; the contamination is apparently still spreading.
This powerful book explores the tragedy, investigates how it could have happened (though the chemical industry knew that this manufacturing procedure could release, as a by-product, the deadly compound dioxin). The book also depicts the destroyed individual lives of the people of Seveso, including an account of the day on which they broke back into their homes because they could not bear this forced severance from their own lives, or the sight of their lovely deserted town. Most important, John Fuller makes frighteningly clear the prevalence of similar dangers in all our lives. He has shown that the destruction which Rachel Carson predicted in Silent Spring has already occurred, and though this is not a polemical book, its bare story is a powerful call to action.
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Last updated Oct. 11, 1998, by Robbin D. Knapp
Copyright © 1998 Robbin D. Knapp.