Annotated Bibliography-KM

Behl, Mamta, Susan A Elmore, David E Malarkey, Milton R Hejtmancik, Diane K Gerken, and Rajendra S Chhabra. 2013. “Perinatal Toxicity and Carcinogenicity Studies of Styrene-Acrylonitrile Trimer, a Ground Water Contaminant.” Toxicology 314 (1): 84–94.

                Perinatal Toxicity and Carcinogenicity Studies of Styrene-Acrylonitrile Trimer, a Groundwater Contaminant is a scientific study that examines potential casual links between groundwater contamination and cancer. In particular, the scientists were looking at a substance found at the Reich Farm Superfund site known as styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) trimer. The scientists ultimately found that while (SAN) trimer may cause some abnormalities in subjects, there is no direct causal link between it and cancer.  This article informs me about one of the latest attempts to find an answer on why there has been such an abnormally high amount of childhood cancer cases in Tom River.  Parents and their children (who are now adults today) have been searching for decades for an answer to this very question. A previous study proved that pollution from the Ciba-Geigy site may have caused leukemia to develop female children, but that only provided an answer for a small number of families. Those families who have members who are suffering from a different type of cancer, such as neuroblastoma, were hoping that this study would give them much needed closure. But given that the results of this study were inconclusive, they are still looking for answers.

Fagin, Dan. 2013. Toms River : a Story of Science and Salvation New York: Bantam Books.

                Toms River : a Story of Science and Salvation is a Pulitzer Prize winning book about the Toms River cancer cluster. Fagin’s book extensively covers the history of pollution in Toms River from the founding of the Ciba-Geigy plant in 1952 through the 1980s. He also describes the effects that it has had on the residents of the town and their attempts to seek justice. This book will probably be the most important and cited secondary source for my research project. I will draw upon this book’s wealth of background information to inform myself about extensive history of Toms River and their pollution problems. I also plan use his history of the town’s fight against these polluting corporations as a primer for my own research into the subject. Given that his book ended the story with its publication on March 19, 2013 and the Toms River pollution case is still ongoing to this very day, it is my hope that my research project will continue Dan Fagin’s already excellent work by discussing more recent attempts from these families to seek justice.

Głowacki, Eric Daniel, Gundula Voss, Lucia Leonat, Mihai Irimia‐Vladu, Siegfried Bauer, and Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci. 2012. “Indigo and Tyrian Purple – From Ancient Natural Dyes to Modern Organic Semiconductors.” Israel Journal of Chemistry 52 (6): 540–51.

                Indigo and Tyrian Purple – From Ancient Natural Dyes to Modern Organic Semiconductors is a journal article that discusses indigo and tyrian purple dyes. The first half of the article tells the history of purple dyes, from their extreme rarity in ancient times to becoming the most produced dye today. The second half delves more into the dyes’ and colors’ chemical composition, explaining different ways that they can be produced in a chemistry setting. I will use this article to further inform myself about why there was such a desire for dyes in America that a Swiss company that would become Ciba-Geigy decided build a plant to produce them in Toms River. Fagin’s book slightly touches upon the rarity of certain kinds of dyes prior to the solution that would come from coal tar, but this article a much better job describing just how painstakingly difficult it was to produce them from natural sources. What once was limited to only the most richest and powerful people in the world, was now widely available to the average American. With the information that I learned from this article, it is no wonder why the Ciba-Geigy plant expanded so much in such a short period of time.

Maris, John M, Michael D Hogarty, Rochelle Bagatell, and Susan L Cohn. 2007. “Neuroblastoma.” The Lancet (British Edition)

                Neuroblastoma is a journal article that medically explains the cancer that the article is named after. The article covers a wide range of different topics related to neuroblastoma, including its definition, mortality rate, risk factors, and treatment options. This article increases my knowledge about one of the main types of cancers that was possibly caused by the pollution in Toms River. As I mentioned previously, leukemia was another type of cancer that was often seen in victims, but scientist have at least partially discovered the origin of it amongst the children in Toms River. With neuroblastoma, families are still hoping that they will find a definite cause for the disease. I think that by studying neuroblastoma I will be able to better understand the victims’ pain and why it is so difficult to link the disease to any one chemical.

Maslia, Morris L, Juan J Reyes, Richard E Gillig, Jason B Sautner, Jerald A Fagliano, and Mustafa M Aral. 2005. “Public Health Partnerships Addressing Childhood Cancer Investigations: Case Study of Toms River, Dover Township, New Jersey, USA.” International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 208 (1): 45–54.

                Public Health Partnerships Addressing Childhood Cancer Investigations: Case Study of Toms River, Dover Township, New Jersey, USA is a journal article that examines the relationship between the community, government, and research institutions in trying to work together to find a cause for the high amount of early childhood cancers in Toms River up until 2005. In order to accomplish this goal, the authors lays out a six step method in order to judge the effectiveness of these relationships. They ultimately come to the conclusion that the relationship was successful because of the rarity of finding any link between chemicals causing cancer. This article, at least in part, helps me find an answer to my third research question about the role of government in the Toms River Pollution crisis. It does not tell me much about the role of government negligence that caused the pollution crisis to happen in the first place (Fagin does a much better job of explaining this in his book). But it does explain how the government worked with the citizens of Toms River to seek justice from the corporations who polluted the town. This source is at least somewhat dated, given that the study was done in 2005 and this is still an ongoing issue, but I still think that it provides valuable information about the early days of the parents’ and their children’s attempts to seek justice. I now feel I have a much better understanding of the overall dynamic surrounding the battle for an answer to this mysterious cancer cluster.