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Mary Beth was raised in Western Pennsylvania, an area where thousands of abandoned coal mines have led to extensive contamination of streams and associated ground waters. Aquatic life has clearly suffered, but the health effects on people living along the waterways have not been so clear. In working through this interrupted case study, students consider the biological consequences for Mary Beth’s family by analyzing selected research articles. Originally developed for an upper level toxicology course, it would also be appropriate for a cancer biology course and could easily be adapted for a course in science and society or environmental studies.
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