Commentary: Flawed Science Delays Smelter Cleanup and Worsens Health

TitleCommentary: Flawed Science Delays Smelter Cleanup and Worsens Health
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSpear, M, Thomas, R, Shrader-Frechette, KS
JournalAccountability in Research
Pagination41 - 60
Date PublishedFeb-01-2015
ISSN Number0898-9621
AbstractFor 6,000 years, humans have known about smelter hazards. Yet these metals threats continue. Why? This commentary provides one preliminary answer. It (1) summarizes the history of smelter pollution and (2) suggests that at least 3 problems—especially flawed smelter-polluter science—allow continuing health threats. It (3) illustrates this flawed science by using one of the most dangerous of U.S. former smelters, in DePue, Illinois. There polluters are avoiding violating the law yet trying to minimize smelter-caused health threats, thus clean-up costs, by using two questionable scientific claims. The causality-denial claim denies that smelter metals cause neurodegenerative diseases. The biomagnification-denial claim denies that food-chain biomagnification of smelter metals can put citizens at risk. The commentary shows both claims err, and (4) suggests ways to address flawed smelter science and resulting health harms.
Audience LevelGraduate Student
Short TitleAccountability in Research