The "Donora Death Fog" Incident: A Catalyst to Environmental Awareness Research Paper by Trish

The "Donora Death Fog" Incident: A Catalyst to Environmental Awareness
An investigation into the events of October 1948 in the town of Donora, Pa. and the subsequent rise in environmental issues' awareness.
# 6841 | 3,000 words | 13 sources | APA | 2002 | US
Published on Feb 07, 2003 in Environmental Studies (Air Pollution)

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The paper studies the events of October 1948, when a temperature inversion trapped the town of Donora, Pennsylvania in a cloud of smog from local zinc and steel smelting plants for several days, killing an estimated 20 people and leaving many seriously injured. The paper shows how after the incident public perceptions about industrial environmental pollution were indelibly changed and the subsequent increase in demand for risk information influenced many sectors of industrial and political operations--ultimately prompting the nation's first Clean Air Act.

From the Paper:

"Donora, Pennsylvania: "It was once the home of the world's best steel mill, the world's biggest zinc mill and the world's worst air pollution" (Templeton, 1994, p. W1). Given these less than innocuous distinctions, it is perhaps not surprising to us today that the small mill town of Donora was the site of the first known American deaths from air pollution (Coates, 1998). However, in the earlier part of 1948--when the Great Depression was still a vivid and unwelcome memory in the minds of many people--billowing clouds of smog, like those that had hovered for years over the Monongahela River valley mill town of Donora, were seen as a sign of prosperity, not as a harbinger of death (Kiester, 1999). Air pollution concerns were unheard of in Donora in the early 1940s; smoke from the local zinc and steel mills was an accepted and welcomed part of life (Coates, 1998)."

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APA Format

The "Donora Death Fog" Incident: A Catalyst to Environmental Awareness (2003, February 07) Retrieved June 01, 2023, from

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"The "Donora Death Fog" Incident: A Catalyst to Environmental Awareness" 07 February 2003. Web. 01 June. 2023. <>