VFH Fellow Dr. Gregory Wilson, professor of history at the University of Akron, will discuss his research into the Kepone disaster in Virginia at the Library of Virginia in Richmond.
Kepone first came into the public consciousness as a dangerous toxin in July 1975. That month news broke about the poisoning of workers in Hopewell who made the insecticide, and the dumping of the substance into the James River and nearby tributaries by the two companies involved: Allied Chemical and Life Science Products.
These discoveries generated fear and anger, as well as denial and disbelief. In the wake of this news, a number of significant and long-lasting political, legal, scientific, and other actions followed, from the local to the global. Yet until now the Kepone story remains largely unknown outside the region and untold by scholars in the humanities. Wilson’s talk will explore the many facets of the Kepone disaster and highlight the contested values that continue to shape public health and our relationship with the environment.