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PCB and the Housatonic River materials


Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The waters of the Housantonic River were found to contain PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls), a toxic compound used as cooling liquids in electrical equipment, that existed as a result of leakages from a General Electric Company plant located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Even after use of PCBs was discontinued there was a forty-year buildup of residue in the sediments of the river and this in turn caused fish to become contaminated by them. This report was an attempt to describe the problem and strategize a method of dealing with it.

The principal documents noted above and the accompanying correspondence offer a snapshot of how local government responded to a perceived health threat.

This collection of materials includes a 24-page report issued by CASE in 1978 and subsequent documents generated by it, including a transcript of a 1979 conference and a 1982 analysis of PCBs found in fish taken from the river.

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