Environment: Genetic Flap

The finding of chromosome abnormalities in residents of the Love Canal area was hardly surprising. It has long been known that the 46 pairs of rodlike structures that carry the genetic message in the nuclei of human cells can be damaged by environmental factors, including certain chemicals. When that happens, the message may become jumbled, possibly increasing the risk of cancer. Some scientists say chromosome damage may also be linked with birth defects and spontaneous abortion. But were the tests conducted by Houston's Biogenics Corp. for the EPA a true index of genetic mayhem from Love Canal?

Biogenics examined lymphocytes, or white...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!