Toxic Substance Control

October 13, 1978

Report Outline
Health, Environmental Hazards
Development of Protective Laws
Concern About Pesticide Usage
Special Focus

Health, Environmental Hazards

Consequences of Improper Waste Disposal

Midnight Mover. The phrase evokes images of a late-night disco dancer or someone who skips out on the rent. Actually, a “midnight mover” is a person who disposes of toxic chemical cargoes illegally under cover of darkness. Midnight movers operate in nearly every state of the union. They have dumped toxic substances in sewers, streams, lakes, rivers, oceans, old quarries, forests, fields, trenches and even along roads. Illegal dumping of toxic substances is one manifestation of a much larger national problem: how to prevent the large number of toxic chemicals manufactured and distributed in this country from endangering the health of the American people and poisoning the environment.

Incidents involving poisonous or carcinogenic chemicals have occurred with increasing frequency in the last several years. “The presence of toxic chemicals in our environment is one of the grimmest discoveries of the industrial era,” President Carter said last year in an environmental message to Congress. “Toxic substance pollution,” Rep. William Brodhead, D-Mich., said recently, “is one of the most pervasive and potentially most devastating health problems today.”

Douglas M. Costle, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, emphasized the seriousness of the situation in a recent article in The Journal of Commerce. “The health and environmental hazards stemming from our society's heavy reliance on commercial chemical substances reach into virtually every nook and cranny of modern life,” Costle wrote in the Sept. 21, 1978, issue. “Nothing we touch, smell, consume, or otherwise use throughout a given day has not in turn been affected in some way by chemicals.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Environmental Protection
Mar. 17, 2023  Forever Chemicals
Sep. 02, 2022  Preserving the Seas
Jun. 17, 2022  Plastic Pollution
Dec. 17, 2021  Endangered Species
Nov. 06, 2020  Preventing Wildfires
Jul. 10, 2020  Circular Economy
Nov. 29, 2019  Climate Change and Health
Sep. 20, 2019  Extreme Weather
Dec. 07, 2018  Plastic Pollution
Dec. 02, 2016  Arctic Development
Apr. 22, 2016  Managing Western Lands
Jul. 18, 2014  Regulating Toxic Chemicals
Sep. 20, 2013  Future of the Arctic
Jun. 14, 2013  Climate Change
Nov. 06, 2012  Vanishing Biodiversity
Nov. 02, 2012  Managing Wildfires
Nov. 04, 2011  Managing Public Lands
Aug. 26, 2011  Gulf Coast Restoration
Jul. 2010  Plastic Pollution
Feb. 2010  Climate Change
Jan. 09, 2009  Confronting Warming
Dec. 05, 2008  Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Nov. 2008  Carbon Trading
Oct. 03, 2008  Protecting Wetlands
Feb. 29, 2008  Buying Green
Dec. 14, 2007  Future of Recycling
Nov. 30, 2007  Disappearing Species
Feb. 2007  Curbing Climate Change
Dec. 01, 2006  The New Environmentalism
Jan. 27, 2006  Climate Change
Oct. 25, 2002  Bush and the Environment
Oct. 05, 2001  Invasive Species
Nov. 05, 1999  Saving Open Spaces
Jun. 11, 1999  Saving the Rain Forests
May 21, 1999  Setting Environmental Priorities
Mar. 19, 1999  Partisan Politics
Oct. 16, 1998  National Forests
Jun. 19, 1998  Environmental Justice
Aug. 23, 1996  Cleaning Up Hazardous Wastes
Mar. 31, 1995  Environmental Movement at 25
Jun. 19, 1992  Lead Poisoning
May 15, 1992  Jobs Vs. Environment
Jan. 17, 1992  Oil Spills
Sep. 20, 1991  Saving the Forests
Apr. 26, 1991  Electromagnetic Fields: Are They Dangerous?
Sep. 08, 1989  Free Market Environmental Protection
Dec. 09, 1988  Setting Environmental Priorities
Jul. 29, 1988  Living with Hazardous Wastes
Dec. 20, 1985  Requiem for Rain Forests?
Aug. 17, 1984  Protecting the Wilderness
Jun. 15, 1984  Troubled Ocean Fisheries
Aug. 19, 1983  America's Disappearing Wetlands
Feb. 22, 1980  Noise Control
Nov. 16, 1979  Closing the Environmental Decade
Oct. 13, 1978  Toxic Substance Control
Feb. 27, 1976  Pollution Control: Costs and Benefits
Nov. 28, 1975  Forest Policy
May 30, 1975  Wilderness Preservation
Dec. 20, 1974  Environmental Policy
Nov. 14, 1973  Strip Mining
Dec. 01, 1971  Global Pollution
Jul. 21, 1971  Protection of the Countryside
Jan. 06, 1971  Pollution Technology
Jun. 19, 1968  Protection of the Environment
Oct. 30, 1963  Noise Suppression
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Hazardous Substances and Nuclear Waste