Today in Hazmat History – March 15

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.

March 15, 1959

First U.S. atomic reactor built specifically for medical research, Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, reached criticality. The reactor was mainly used for developing and testing boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), a promising treatment for patients with a deadly form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. BNCT uses radiation and a boron compound to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact.

March 15, 1941

Fast-moving, severe blizzard hits North Dakota and Minnesota, where 151 people died. Following this disaster, weather forecasting and reporting made major advances to prevent future loss of life due to these sudden storms.

March 15, 1854

German bacteriologist Emil (Adolf) von Behring was born in East Prussia. He developed vaccination to eradicate diphtheria and is considered the founder of the science of immunology. He helped discover that immunity against tetanus and diphtheria could be produced by injecting serum from an animal that had recovered from the disease. He coined the word “antitoxin” for such substances. Antitoxins produced by one animal could immunize another animal and that it could cure an animal actually showing symptoms of diphtheria.

March 15, 1813

English physician Dr. John Snow was born. He is most famous for the Broad Street Pump cholera eradication episode. Snow made significant contributions to the development of anesthesia and medical hygiene. He is considered by many to be the father of modern epidemiology.Historical hazardous materials management events are posted 365 days a year at this LinkedIn discussion group.

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