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Oral history interview with Anne McDonough

  • 2014-Jan-20

Anne McDonough grew up in State College, Pennsylvania. At Pennsylvania State University she majored in biology and environment and in education. She now teaches science at Wissahickon High School. Her husband is also in the sciences. To be close to their jobs they settled in Ambler. Though they knew about the area’s asbestos-containing waste, they decided that the EPA’s remediation had the risk under control. McDonough says that as a scientist she is more concerned about the unknown substances in our everyday lives than about the remediated asbestos. In the case of the proposed high-rise, though, she thought that digging would send the asbestos airborne, at which point it would become dangerous. She was chosen for the REACH teaching project; it is a three-year science course for high-school students that she hopes will teach students when and how to become active in their communities, as well as basic science concepts. McDonough talks a little about the improved economic situation and the increase in college-bound high-school students in Ambler. She credits the citizens of the various affected boroughs and townships with identifying the asbestos danger and with successfully petitioning for inclusion on the EPA’s National Priorities List. She emphasizes the importance of communication between EPA and community.

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