Medicine: Globe's Mystery

In Arizona last June, a U.S. Forest Service helicopter set out to spray the parched Pinal Mountains with potent herbicides—mainly one called Silvex, plus small quantities of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. Purpose of the spraying operation: to preserve precious water for people by killing water-consuming vegetation. Unfortunately, instead of being mixed with diesel oil, the defoliants were mistakenly applied with water, which quickly evaporates in the arid area. As a result, they were especially toxic. Worse, the helicopter strayed over the copper-mining town of Globe (pop. 6,000), the far outskirts of which were soon...

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