Environment: Hazards Of a Toxic Wasteland

Learning to cope with high-tech risks

We are, all of us, out there on emergency bivouac.

-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

In Middleport, N.Y., a small community northeast of Buffalo, elementary schoolchildren huddle over their notebooks, just 400 yards from a pesticide factory operated by the FMC Corp. A month ago a faulty pump at the neighboring plant spewed out methyl isocyanate gas, the same substance that was stored at Bhopal, India, where more than 2,500 people died last week. Firemen evacuated the 600 youngsters from the school, and 30 of them were treated...

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