Sunday, August 2, 2009

Poison Fog, 1930

A tragic episode in the Meuse Valley proved that industrial air pollution can kill.
...The area of Liège on the River Meuse, was once one of the most heavily industrialised areas of continental Europe, with steelworks, zinc smelters, glass manufacturers, and fertiliser and explosive plants established since the industrial revolution. Between December 1 and December 5, 1930, a thick fog covered a large part of Belgium. From Dec 3 onwards, hundreds of people in the villages situated in the narrow portion of the Meuse Valley between the towns of Huy and Liège...started to have severe respiratory signs and symptoms. More than 60 people died in the next few days. People in the entire country and abroad were deeply shocked and the deadly fog received considerable media attention. Many dignitaries, including Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, visited the affected area. The event was reported in medical and scientific journals in many countries...

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