Toms River

Toms River

A Story of Science and Salvation

Book - 2013
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Recounts the decades-long saga of the New Jersey seaside town plagued by childhood cancers caused by air and water pollution due to the indiscriminate dumping of toxic chemicals. One of New Jersey's seemingly innumerable quiet seaside towns, Toms River became the unlikely setting for a decades-long drama that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements in the annals of toxic dumping. A town that would rather have been known for its Little League World Series champions ended up making history for an entirely different reason: a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution. For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground, burying tens of thousands of leaky drums in open pits and discharging billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater into the town's namesake river. Here the author, a journalist, recounts the sixty-year saga of rampant pollution and inadequate oversight that made Toms River a cautionary example for fast-growing industrial towns from South Jersey to South China. He tells the stories of the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer, and brings to life the everyday heroes in Toms River who struggled for justice: a young boy whose cherubic smile belied the tumors that had decimated his body from birth; a nurse who fought to bring the alarming incidence of childhood cancers to the attention of authorities who didn't want to listen; and a mother whose love for her stricken child transformed her into a tenacious advocate for change. A gripping human drama rooted in a centuries-old scientific quest, it is is a tale of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, c2013
ISBN: 9780553806533
055380653X
Branch Call Number: 363.72 F136t 2013
Characteristics: xv, 538 p. : map ; 25 cm

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juniperwind
Jun 24, 2018

Not only a harrowing tale of pollution, disease, and governmental ineptitude but also a fascinating history of epidemiology and industrial chemistry. For such thick subjects, the story is engaging, reading like a who-done-it mystery until the very end.

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jamesian
Dec 19, 2016

Tom's River describes a slow-motion pollution catastrophe unfolding over decades in New Jersey, as families of children with brain tumors slowly unfold the potential chemical contribution from a nearby facility. Author Fagin drips the science slowly into our blood as we read, feeling sick to our stomachs as we watch the paralyzed governments fail to stop pollution of water wells. Fagin is painstaking about his statistics and the evidence.

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