Pollution in the Movies Perhaps surprisingly, toxic pollution has provided the central theme in…

Pollution in the Movies

Perhaps surprisingly, toxic pollution has provided the central theme in two major Hollywood movies: Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action . The 2000 movie Erin Brockovich tells the story of a California community’s battle against Pacific Gas & Electric for allegedly causing groundwater pollution resulting in extensive illness. [For more information on the pollutant at issue in the movie, the carcinogen hexavalent chromium, see www.atsdr.cdc .gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=10&po=4] In the 1998 Disney movie A Civil Action, John Travolta played a plaintiff’s lawyer based on a true story about some middle-class families who sued two corporate giants, Beatrice Food and W. R. Grace & Co., for allegedly polluting the groundwater in East Woburn, Massachusetts, where eight children died of leukemia. [For more information on this pollutant, Trichloroethylene, see www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=171&tid=30 ]

Question

Look back at the discussion of proving causation at the start of Part Two. Using that terminology, describe the causation issues that had to be addressed in the real-life counterparts to these movies.

 

 

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