Fishing for Cancer

6 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2003

Date Written: February 3, 2003


After protracted deliberations, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to dredge large quantities of sediment from the upper reach of the Hudson River in order to remove a small portion of the PCB's that came from two General Electric factories. They used these chemicals from the 1940s through the mid-1970s. The corporation will be required to pay for the clean up. The agency's administrators appointed by both Presidents Clinton and Bush as well as leading newspapers explained the decision to the public as required to protect the broad public from a significant risk to human health. This explanation is inconsistent with the agency's own highly precautionary health analysis. It concluded that there is no such risk. This essay seeks to understand why the agency decided as it did and why the public was misinformed.

Keywords: environment, PCB, superfund, CERCLA, Hudson, precautionary principle

Suggested Citation

Schoenbrod, David, Fishing for Cancer (February 3, 2003). Available at SSRN: or

David Schoenbrod (Contact Author)

New York Law School ( email )

185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
United States
212-431-2339 (Phone)
212-431-9205 (Fax)

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