The general anxiety the American public felt toward science and technology in the 1970s deepened during the 1980s. In the 1970s many Americans began to doubt a long-standing faith that science and technology worked together to improve the human condition. Wide-spread environmental pollution, the discovery of toxic waste sites such as New York's Love Canal, and the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island suggested to many that the dangers of technology outweighed its merits. The continued threat of nuclear annihilation and the brutality of the war technologies employed in Vietnam strengthened the arguments of those who maintained that rather than advance progress, science and technology retarded human improvement. Such fears deepened during the 1980s. The dangers of environmental pollution became more acute and expensive as thousands of hazardous waste sites were identified and Congress moved to clean them up via Superfund appropriations. The discovery in 1985 of a hole in the Earth's protective ozone layer, a hole allegedly caused by chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, fed concerns that technology was destroying the basic ecological foundation of human life. The 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union spewed radioactive material into the atmosphere, depopulated entire areas of the Ukraine, and confirmed the worst fears of nuclear-power opponents. Massive increases in arms...
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