The chemical pollution that irrevocably damages today's environment is, although many would like us to believe otherwise, the legacy of conscious choices made long ago. During the years before and just after World War II, discoveries like leaded gasoline and DDT came to market, creating new hazards even as the expansion and mechanization of industry exacerbated old ones. Dangers still felt today – smog, pesticides, lead, chromium, chlorinated solvents, asbestos, even global warming – were already recognized by chemists, engineers, doctors, and business managers of that era. A few courageous individuals spoke out without compromise, but still more ignored scientific truth in pursuit of money and prestige.
The Polluters reveals at last the crucial decisions that allowed environmental issues to be trumped by political agendas. It spotlights the leaders of the chemical industry and describes how they applied their economic and political power to prevent the creation of an effective system of environmental regulation. Research was slanted, unwelcome discoveries were suppressed, and friendly experts were placed in positions of influence, as science was subverted to serve the interests of business. The story of "The Polluters" is one that needs to be told, an unflinching depiction of the onslaught of chemical pollution and the chemical industry's unwillingness to face up to its devastating effects.
Chapter 1 - The Sorcerer's Apprentices
Part I - Summoning the Spirits
Chapter 2 - Pollution Goes to Washington
Chapter 3 - The Rise of the Chemical Industry
Chapter 4 - Royd Sayers' Service Bureau
Part II - Fetching a Flood
Chapter 5 - The Miracle Bug-Killer
Chapter 6 - Wilhelm Hueper and Environmental Cancer
Chapter 7 - Bad Air in Los Angeles
Chapter 8 - Donora's Strangler Smog
Chapter 9 - A New Deal for Clean Water
Chapter 10 - Deregulating California's Water
Chapter 11 - The Stealth Pollutants
Part III - Holding Back the Deluge
Chapter 12 - DuPont Tries to Clean Up
Chapter 13 - The Industry Responds
Chapter 14 - From Donora to Love Canal
Chapter 15 - Epilogue: Convenient Hopes and Inconvenient Truths
Benjamin Ross is President of the Washington consulting firm, Disposal Safety, Inc. He is both environmental scientist and commentator on current affairs, and has served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and the USEPA Science Advisory Board. Steven Amter is a Senior Environmental Scientist at Disposal Safety, Inc. who specializes in the history of pollution.