CSW Event: Dan Fagin (NYU), "Lessons from the Toms River Cancer Cluster"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 ( 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm )

Location: Babbio 122

Wednesday, April 23, 3-4:30 p.m., Babbio Auditorium
"Lessons from the Toms River Cancer Cluster"
A Talk by Dan Fagin, Director of the Science Journalism program, New York University.

ABSTRACT
A quiet seaside town in New Jersey, 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.

Science journalist Dan Fagin will recount 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 will tell the stories of the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer, and will bring to life the everyday heroes in Toms River who struggled for justice.

BIOGRAPHY
Dan Fagin is a nationally prominent journalist on environmental health topics. He has twice been a principal member of reporting teams that were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and has won both of the best-known science journalism prizes in the United States, from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers. Fagin is an associate professor of journalism and the director of the masters-level Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP) at New York University. He is the author of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation (Bantam Books, 2013), which was recently awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, and is the co-author of Toxic Deception (Common Courage Press, 2002). A native of Oklahoma City, he attended Dartmouth College, where he was the editor-in-chief and president of the college newspaper. He has been a Templeton-Cambridge Fellow in Science and Religion at the University of Cambridge and has also had fellowships at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the Institute of Arctic Biology in Toolik Lake, Alaska.