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LECTURER LOOKS AT TRIAL
CHRONICLED IN 'A CIVIL ACTION'

By Doug Tattershall

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Thursday's lecturer, E. Scott Bair, has found that groundwater conditions at Woburn, Mass., were worst during the periods when leukemia victims' mothers were pregnant.

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Jan. 11, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – An Ohio State University hydrogeologist will discuss the trial made famous by the book and movie “A Civil Action” and his research into the questions the trial left unanswered at 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, at the University of Kentucky William T. Young Library auditorium.

In 1982, eight families in Woburn, Mass., filed suit against W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods, claiming two city wells were contaminated by improper disposal of industrial chemicals, causing leukemia and other health problems. The jury determined Beatrice had not contaminated the wells, and Grace and the plaintiffs later settled out of court.

The issue of whether or not the contaminated water caused the leukemia was not addressed at the trial. However, Thursday’s lecturer, E. Scott Bair, has found that groundwater conditions at the Woburn site were worst during the periods when the victims’ mothers were pregnant, supporting the argument that a predisposition to leukemia might have resulted from fetal exposure to the contaminated water.

Bair is chairman of the OSU Department of Geological Sciences. His lecture Thursday is UK’s 23rd annual Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecture in Hydrogeology and is the first in the spring semester’s Geological Sciences seminar series. The lecture is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Water Research Institute.


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