Pollution disease transfer?

May 28, 2009

H mentioned something interesting in class that I’ve been unable to verify, though I could definitely believe it. We were discussing environmental damages and the fate of the companies that commit the worst violations. She said that the company that caused the infamous cadmium poisoning in Japan was forced to shut down after the country became economically secure enough to no longer need it (and people became more educated and able to fight back against this gross violation of their right to live).

However, she says the factory was bought up by a Korean group and shipped over to begin operations there, where the country was not so economically secure and its citizens still lacked the ability to effectively protest against the grievous wrongs committed against them by polluting corporations. So cadmium poisonings occurred there as well, and continued to occur until the country’s economy developed to the point where the government was willing to stop overlooking the pollution/poisoning/murder and those particular operations were shut down. But the factory was still very useful and so it was then shipped off to China where the whole cycle of cadmium poisonings occurred once more.

She claims to have remembered this from an article she read in Korea in the 1980s. I’ve only done a few searches on the Internet, but I still can’t find any similar story.

Perhaps she didn’t mean cadmium poisoning?  The 1960s was a period of high profile environmental destruction in Japan with many human casualties. The other high profile pollution diseases included mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. But you think it would be easier to find some sort of documentation about this kind of pollution cycle. I’ll just have to continue searching. It’s perfectly possible that H merely misremembered or that the article she read in the 80s was mistaken.


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