We still don't know impact of chemical wasteThe recent...

the Forum

March 24, 1994

We still don't know impact of chemical waste

The recent court decision in the state of New York concerning the Love Canal chemical waste dump poisoning has cleared the chemical company of wrongdoing to the extent that it could not have known at the time the harm that would be caused and therefore will not need to pay punitive damages.

Isn't it incredible that a company in the business of manufacturing chemicals would not have some inkling of their potential for harm?

Even if the average layperson or government official of the late 1960s was naive about the dangers, could highly trained chemists and businessmen who knew their materials have been that stupid?

In those days of innocence across our nation and right here in Baltimore, we had an epidemic of stupidity as companies dumped and buried their waste.

At the eastern city line, where I grew up, there were a number of dumps along Moore's Run and Herring Run. I know because I saw them. I lived with them. The oozing dark liquids, the stenches, the smoldering underground fires and the mysterious


Yes, we got ill. Some of us are still ill. But who could prove a connection? Who can prove it today? Nobody!

And have the chemicals gone away? Of course not. Are they still doing harm? Who knows? For the most part, nobody is even trying to find out. What could anyone do even if he could prove such cause and effect relationships?

So when cancer rates in certain areas soar, when there is a high incidence of children requiring special educational services in certain areas, when rare birth defects such as clusters of autistic children show up, when little-understood immune system illnesses occur -- what do we do?

We don't even have a way of identifying the problem. We often have no baseline for the rarer illnesses to know if there's an abnormally high incidence.

How many generations right here in Baltimore will be unknowingly harmed by the stupidity? How long can we afford to continue pretending that many of these chemical time bombs aren't there?

Patricia M. Williams


Parking praise

High praise is in order for the parking management and personnel of APCOA, Inc. at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Despite the worst winter weather conditions and the seasonal airplane rush to warmer climes, Eric J. Loudin and staff took into account the prevailing local circumstances and made allowances for hurried and befuddled travelers.

Because of a weather-related traffic tie-up, my wife and I were delayed on the Baltimore Beltway and, on our airport arrival, the curbside baggage handlers were unavailable.

In the chaos, I was forced to use the parking lot space not of my first choice, in order to catch the plane.

Ultimately, Mr. Loudin took this in account on my return a week later. But more than that, he and Diane Phelps were accessible and treated me with understanding and respect. They were businesslike and efficient.

The snows have gone, but we have warm feelings for airport parking and APCOA. Your readers should know.

lbert A. Adler


Dangerous drug

I read with interest the controversial remarks and opinions expressed about restricting the sale and consumption of cigarettes. It has even been suggested that cigarettes might be voted out of legal existence.

But while I commend efforts to legislate common sense and prudent health practices in regard to cigarettes, I cannot understand why the same vigilance is not being extended to another legal drug -- alcohol.

Cigarette smoking ruins the health of great numbers of individuals, and second hand smoke adversely affects the health and well being of thousands of people.

Isn't it also true that the same statements could be made abut alcohol consumption?

Why are legislators introducing bills to ban smoking from football games yet are not interested in banning alcoholic beverages from the stadium?

ancy C. Craver


Selfish GOP

I am thoroughly disgusted with the Republican Party and its latest attempt to derail important legislation currently making its way through Congress.

The Republicans' ridiculous obsession with "Whitewater" is just a smoke screen to deny Americans the most important legislation since Social Security -- affordable health care.

I am 40 years old and paying for an overpriced health insurance policy with a high deductible and no prescription plan.

When I was growing up, I always heard that Democrats were for the average person and Republicans were a group of narrow-minded, self-serving individuals set out to protect the rich and their special interests.

Now I know that it's true.

ichael Barrash


School daze

I oppose the 12-month school year. The kids will not learn anything.

The children will be totally distracted because school is usually off for baseball season now and that is usually what kids think in the summer. Other kids will want to be out swimming instead of doing school work.

They will want to do this anyway, but the kids will actually go out and play in the summer, school or not. I think there will be more drop-outs and more pupils playing hooky, especially older students.

I can tell you all this from experience. I am a student in Baltimore.

It will also mess up some family vacations. Some people take vacations for two months at a time. The 12-month school year most definitely will not work.

William F. Malone


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