|Environmental Education in the Schools (Peace Corps, 1993)|
|Activities, activities and more activities|
The baby was born, and the new parents were proud and happy. As time passed, however, Joan realized that the baby wasn't developing as quickly as she thought he should. She talked to her husband about it.
The Carlsons took little Davey to the doctor for an examination. Their worst fears were realized-Davey was "severely" brain-damaged. The doctor had no explanation.
"What could have gone wrong?" Joan cried. "During my pregnancy I did everything I was supposed to do. I didn't drink alcohol or smoke; I even gave up coffee. I did no hard physical work. No one in my family or yours has a history of this type of thing. Why did this happen?"
"Maybe the doctor is wrong," Gary said. "Let's wait and see."
A few weeks later, Gary came into the house. "I don't understand it," he said. "Another cow is very sick. This is the fourth one. The other three have died. What could it be?"
Heptachloride was found in the bodies of the dead cows. And the Carlsons' cows were not the only one; in the area to be affected. with his grain. The grain company sold its products to farmers in a dozen states in the central United States. Thousands of cows were contaminated.
When the Carlsons learned about the effects of heptachloride, they began to suspect that it had caused Davey's brain damage. Joan had been contaminated by the "fresh and wholesome" milk from her own cows. She passed on the harmful effects to her baby before he was born. "Davey didn't have a chance," she said.
On behalf of their baby, the Carlsons brought suit for damages. They argued that their baby's health was ruined because Harry Carter laced the grain with heptachloride, an illegal and harmful chemical. Harry's lawyer argued that it was not proven, nor could it be proven, that the heptachloride was responsible for the baby's brain damage.
Harry's lawyer noted, "My client admits to illegally mixing heptachloride with his grain. However, he did that to save jobs and to keep the town of Junction alive. It has never been proven that heptachloride causes any harm. The government only suspects it causes some problems. In fact, they didn't even require that the milk from these cows be removed from the grocery store shelves. They only recommended that people not drink it. My client feels sorry for the Carlsons. But he didn't cause their baby's condition."
The Carlson's lawyer argued, "How many infants need to be damaged before something is done? There is ample evidence that lab animals are harmed by heptachloride. Livers and kidneys are damaged. Cancer was caused in those animals. Must babies die first? Harry Carter is without question responsible for the baby's condition, and the jury can help serve the cause of justice by ruling in favor of my client."