Today in Hazmat History – June 28

Hazmat History

By Richard T. Cartwright, PE, CHMM, (IHMM, AHMP and APICS) Fellow

The saying, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” is more than a cliché. It is a reminder that we must constantly be learning from the past. Here’s a look back at major historical events that happened today in the world of hazardous materials.

June 28, 2007

An American bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list. This was a dramatic environmental and ecological achievement. Endangered species are designated at risk of extinction because of a sudden rapid decrease in its population or a loss of its critical habitat.

June 28, 1994

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it would develop an UV (ultraviolet) Index, “To enhance public awareness of effects of overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, and to provide public with actions they can take to reduce harmful effects of overexposure, which may include skin cancer, cataracts and immune suppression.”

June 28, 1992

Two earthquakes (7.3 and 6.3 magnitude) struck the California desert area east of Los Angeles; 400 people were injured. The earthquakes triggered landslides that wiped out roads and opened a 44-mile-long rupture along San Andreas Fault.

June 28, 1927

F. Sherwood Rowland, American chemist, was born. He shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for research on depletion of Earth’s ozone layer. Rowland discovered that man-made chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellants accelerate decomposition of the ozonosphere, which protects Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

June 28, 1832

The first case during the American cholera epidemic was reported in New York City. Previously, Europe and the Americas were unaffected by the first cholera pandemic of 1817 when cholera, long endemic on the Indian subcontinent, spread to Arabia, Syria and southern Russia. Cholera spreads via polluted water. Its victims die after hours of cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Crowded into unsanitary slums, poor people suffered the most. Most of New York City’s wealthy elite hastily fled to the countryside.

June 28, 1820:

A public tomato eating demonstration was held in front of 2,000 people on the courthouse steps in Salem, N.J. to prove that what were then called “wolf-peaches: or “love apples” were not poisonous. The good news is that several years earlier Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson had brought these ornamental tomato plants home from abroad. The bad news is that the public considered his tomatoes to be poisonous. According to legend, Johnson bravely consumed an entire basket without keeling over or suffering any ill effects. The deadly aspect of tomatoes is based half in superstition and half in fact. Tomato leaves can be deadly. Before a tomato ripens, it contains a bitter alkaloid known as Solanine, which in concentrated doses is fatal to humans. Note: Today, a typical American consumes 80 pounds of tomatoes per year.

Historical hazardous materials management events are posted 365 days a year at this LinkedIn discussion group.

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