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Charles E. Ophardt, Professor of Chemistry, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60126, charleso at elmhurst.edu, Copyright 2004
 
On-Line Discussion of the Environmental Issues

ISSUE 1:

SHOULD THE USE OF CHLORINE FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF CHLORINE CONTAINING COMPOUNDS BE BANNED?

 DEBATE QUESTION: Should the use of chlorine for the manufacture of chlorine containing compounds be banned?

Option # 1: Complete ban on use of all chlorine containing compounds.

Option # 2: Limited ban only on potentially harmful classes of compounds.
For example ban all organochlorine pesticides or ban all chlorine containing plastics.

Option # 3: No ban, or extremely limited ban on compounds proven to cause harm.
For example ban only those chlorine containing compounds which have been proven to harm the environment or toxic to humans and animals i.e. DDT, PCB's

For this issue debate, you may self select the position that you would like to promote.

 

Various members of the class and the professor contribute to the discussion. Please read these postings before you make a contribution to this ongoing discussion. You may add new information for this discussion, make further comments on information already posted, or ask questions to other students or the professor about the information already posted. Answers to THREE Rounds of Discussion are required. This may be done all at once or you may wait for more of the discussion in Round 1 to be completed before giving your final answer to the question in Round 2.


Round 1 Discussion: (2 points): One question from sub questions in 1-5 - You will be assigned to answer one of these questions to ensure complete topic coverage. See the Questions below for the student assignments.
Round 2 Discussion: (6 points) Main debate question (Ques. 7)
Round 3 Discussion: (2 points):One follow up response to another student.

More details about the Discussion Format.

Please read the discussion responses before you decide which questions to answer. Try to answer questions that no one else has answered or respond to answers already present.

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Write out answers to questions in a WORD PROCESSOR
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General Questions - Issue #1: Ban Chlorine

QUES. 1. Identify the major technologies used and science concepts and principles which are applied to the technologies in this issue.Definitions: Technology is the application of scientific knowledge in the creation of new products and processes. Science is the knowledge gathered about the natural world through observations and controlled experimentation.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 1: List some industrial, household, or drug type chemicals that contain chlorine and their uses. What is the technology that is being helped by this chemical? What is the beneficial use of the compound? What is the side effect environmental problem caused by the compound? (Various people should contribute one or two chemicals to the list until 8-12 chemicals have been identified. Be sure to get some industrial chemicals as well.)  Std. ID. 3,15, 23

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QUES. 2. Identify the issues, questions, limitations or drawbacks involved with the technology, especially environmental effects. Definition: Application of technology is called into question when the quality of life and/or the environment deteriorates.

Terms: Possible adverse health effects for humans and other organisms, dioxin

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 2: Give the name of one new (maybe not listed in QUES. 1) organochlorine compound and state the adverse health effects for humans and other organisms caused by it. Why should these compounds be banned? Do the negatives out weigh the positives on continued use of the compounds? (Again, various people should contribute one or two new chemical to the list and find information until 6-8 compounds)  Std. ID. 4, 16, 24

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QUES. 3. For the issues and questions above, list/explain the science concepts and cause and effect relationships involved; and/or identify the use of the scientific method (Hypothesis? Experiments? Results and Conclusions?) to prove or disprove any of the questions or hypotheses.

Terms: Chlorine as a natural chemical, Chlorine substitutes for paper making, Dioxin-how made, health effects

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 3a: What is dioxin? source? health effects? Can you find any studies which say that dioxin may not really be that hazardous to humans, even though it is very hazardous to lab rats?  Std. ID. 5, 17, 25
Ques. 3b: What kinds of chemicals are used in the making of paper? Are there chlorine substitutes available? Is the paper making process a very friendly process to the environment even though is uses a natural renewable resource?  Std. ID. 6, 18, 26
 Ques. 3c: Is it possible to ban chlorine since it is a natural chemical? Are some "bad" organochlorine compounds already made in nature, if so list some and give howe they are formed?  Std. ID. 7, 19, 27
Ques.3d: Explain the issues in a proposed final worldwide ban of DDT - an organochlorine pesticide. Case Study - Malaria and DDT  Std. ID 8, 20, 28

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QUES. 4: Identify the limitations or uncertainties of the science in understanding and/or solving the problem.

Definition: Science is more limited in its ability to deal with systems with complex interactions because it can effectively study only a small number of variables and is incapable of controlling all of the variables. The "answers" provided by science may not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 4a: Has it been proven that all chlorine compounds have the potential of causing harm?  Std. ID. 9, 11, 29
Ques. 4b: How hard is it to correlate specific health problems which may or may not be caused by specific chemicals?  Std. ID. 10, 12, 30

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QUES. 5. Identify the social, philosophical, and/or ethical issues.

Definition: Social issues relate to the general welfare of society. Philosophical issues relate to the principles and values for the conduct of life. Ethical issues are concerned with morals (distinction between right and wrong) and values (the ultimate worth of actions or "things").

Research the Answer to Questions
 
Quest. 5a: Are you more likely to get sick or die if chlorine is not used in drinking water?  Std. ID. 1, 2
Ques. 5b: Is it right to continue making chlorine chemicals already known to cause adverse health effects? ...especially those compounds banned in the U. S. but exported to other countries?  Std. ID. 13, 21
 Ques. 5c: Should all uses of chlorine be banned when only a few chemicals cause problems?  Std. ID. 14, 22

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 QUES. 6: Use this space to make general comments or ask other questions.

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QUES. 7. As an individual citizen or as a group, what course of action would you take regarding the main issue question? Interpret available information and data to formulate a solution and a plan of action.

 DEBATE QUESTION: Should the use of chlorine for the manufacture of chlorine containing compounds be banned?

Option # 1: Complete ban on use of all chlorine containing compounds.

Option # 2: Limited ban only on potentially harmful classes of compounds.
For example ban all organochlorine pesticides or ban all chlorine containing plastics.

Option # 3: No ban, or extremely limited ban on compounds proven to cause harm.
For example ban only those chlorine containing compounds which have been proven to harm the environment or toxic to humans and animals i.e. DDT, PCB's

For this issue debate, you may self select the position that you would like to promote.

Blackboard - Discussion Pages