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Int J Health Serv. 1983;13(2):227-46.

Kepone: a chemical disaster in Hopewell, Virginia.


One of the most costly chemical disasters in the United States involved a small, single-product manufacturer, ironically named Life Science Products Company, which made the pesticide Kepone for Allied Chemical Corporation. Life Science operated only 16 months in 1974 and 1975, in Hopewell, Virginia, yet managed to poison its workers and pollute the environment, causing millions of dollars of damage. The case dramatically demonstrates the links between hazards inside the factory and those outside the factory, and the confused responses of both administrative and judicial systems to a chemical disaster. In the Kepone case, as in other instances of toxic contamination, the victims confronted problems of care, compensation, and clean-up. The case illustrates two major causes of a chemical disaster: organizational pathologies of public bureaucracies, and irresponsible production by private corporations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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