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Michigan's Responce to the PBB Crisis in the 1970s - Essay Example

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Polybrominated biphenyl crisis in Michigan The PBB (Polybrominated biphenyl) crisis in Michigan is considered one of the worst chemical contaminations of the US. Its impact has been considered extensive and prolonged and to date, its effects are still being felt and its issues unresolved…
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Michigans Responce to the PBB Crisis in the 1970s
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Download file to see previous pages The Michigan Chemical Corporation in St. Louis, Michigan was the main producer of the FireMaster brand of these PBB flame retardants. The brand FireMaster BP-6 was made out of a mixture of various PBB congeners with 2,2’,4,4’,5,5’-hexabromobiphenyl and 2,2’3,4,4’,5,5’-heptabromobiphenyl as major components based on mass2. Other components of FireMaster products include bromochlorobiphenyls and polybrominated naphthalenes3. These components combined created the unfortunate animal and human health consequences seen in the Michigan chemical disaster. The FireMaster BP-6, in 1973, was accidentally added to livestock feed which was then distributed to various farms in Michigan4. Shortly thereafter, various livestock started dying. About 1.5 million chickens, 30,000 cattle, 5900 pigs, and about 1400 sheep died immediately after being contaminated and their carcasses were managed in landfills in different parts of the state5. About a year would pass before the animals would be culled6. This incident was caused by poor labeling procedures of the company with thousands of pounds of FireMaster being mistakenly labeled as magnesium oxide and delivered to companies manufacturing animal feed. After contamination, most of the animals exhibited mild symptoms like disorientation; others however became very much sick, manifesting internal bleeding and skin lesions. Others died immediately after contamination7. ...
hey did not know the actual cause of these deaths and most of them did not perceive that the tainted meat from these livestock would imply a major health threat9. As a result, meat from some of the sick animals was added into the animal feed. This caused further contamination of other animals. Meat from the healthy cows was also sold in the markets for human consumption10. Moreover, chickens which were fed the contaminated feeds lay eggs which were also tainted with PBBs. All in all, thousands of people in Michigan were actually ingesting PBB-contaminated foods and did not even know about it11. Symptoms of PBB poisoning among humans is often based on the amount or level of contamination; mostly it includes stomach problems, abnormal bleeding, loss of balance, skin lesions, and a decreased resistance to diseases12. Many farmers and their families developed health issues attributed to PBB contamination and in general, the long-term impact of PBB among Michigan residents is still persistent because of the long-term impact of the PBBs13. In fact, it would take more years to pass before the full impact of the contamination would ever be known. The disaster also gained much attention for their continued impact on livestock, with nearly all of the large dairy farms in Michigan reporting cattle and other animal deaths14. Many of their cows also started aborting and most of them soon started to look sick, with their coats becoming mangy and hooves overgrowing. Consultants from the Michigan Department of Agriculture launched their investigation of these incidents; however, they too could not establish the cause of these incidents15. Eventually however, investigators uncovered that chemical workers at the Michigan Chemical Corporation mistakenly mixed chemical polybrominated ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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