October 8, 1823: Inauguration of the Erie Canal; 1986: Dinoseb Pesticide Banned

October 8, 1823Today in Science: “The Erie Canal was inaugurated at Albany, NY, upon the occasion of the first passage of a boat into the canal, although the entire canal was not completed. Cannon were placed on the hill near the mansion of General Ten Broeck and fifty-four rounds were fired in honor of each county in the state. The steamboats and other crafts in the river were trimmed with bunting and decorated gaily. The first boat entered the lock with state and local officials, followed by other boats, one of which was filled with ladies. The masonic fraternity ceremoniously laid the cap stone of the lock. A bottle of seawater, brought by the New York committee, was emptied, and mingled with the waters of the lakes and the river. About 40,000 people were present.”

October 8, 1986New York Times headline–Emergency Order Bans Much-Used Pesticide. “Asserting that the widely used pesticide dinoseb posed a ”very serious risk” of birth defects, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order today barring sale or use of the chemical.

It is only the third time in the agency’s 15-year history that it has pulled a pesticide off the market on an emergency basis. The other two pesticides involved were 2,4,5-T in 1977 and ethylene dibromide in 1984. An emergency suspension is the strongest action the agency can take under the Federal pesticide law. . . .The agency has found significant residues of dinoseb in underground drinking water supplies in only two areas of the country: the potato growing areas of Suffolk County, L.I., and in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts.”

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