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Before the movie
A Civil Action

This site contains some of the early investigative stories from 1979-1981 written by Charles C. Ryan that provided the foundation for the lawsuit filed by eight Woburn families, which ultimately resulted in the book A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, and the movie A Civil Action, starring John Travolta and Robert Duval.


Photo copyright © 1998 © Touchstone Pictures. All rights reserved.

Except for the photo above,
the contents of this Web site
are copyrighted © 1999 by Charles C. Ryan,
The Daily Times Chronicle & Essex County Newspapers.


The Woburn hazardous waste story: The early years

Related links

Wells G & H Superfund Site

The IndustriPlex Superfund Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The City of Woburn, Massachusetts,

The Leukemia Society of America

Dan Kennedy's coverage of the trial, etc.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Leukemia studies

The W. R. Grace Stonewalling Site

The MIT Study of the Aberjona River

The Movie

The Ohio State University courtroom simulation.

Attorney Jan Schlichtmann, a Beverly resident, has his own web site about the case.

A site put together by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for the Internet and Society.

What does Charles C. Ryan do in his spare time? He edits a magazine ...

The key early stories

Hazardous material found on MBTA site
This story resulted in the testing of G and H wells.

Lagoon of arsenic discovered in North Woburn
A major investigative story about the 8th largest waste site in the country.

Was it radiation?

Low-grade uranium ore dumped in North Woburn
Did radiation cause the leukemia?

Feds to examine dumps
Government to test for radiation.

Chasing a 'Radioactive Ghost'
It's not always easy to get at the facts about government research.

A serious health problem

Deaths from cancer increase in Woburn
This investigative story gave Anne Anderson the evidence she was seeking about childhood leukemia.

Childhood Leukemia Answers Sought
The Rev. Bruce Young picks up Anne Anderson cause.

Three families face leukemia: Part I -- It happened overnight
Caring for a sick child isn't easy.

Three families face leukemia: Part II -- "It was God's will"
Not everyone thought the chemicals caused leukemia.

Three families face leukemia: Part III -- It's environment, feel Andersons
All along Anne Anderson thought the water caused Jimmy's illness.

Workers near waste complain of headaches, fatigue
Leukemia wasn't the only health effect of the hazardous wastes.

They are not statistics
The children's deaths were being ignored.

65 Chemicals Found in Subsurface Water
A chemical soup was found near the wells.

Recent stories

A Civil Action: a gripping and compelling read
It's a good book.

Even this Mickey Mouse production must enjoy certain protections
Disney didn't want to pay the families for their stories.

W.R. Grace Hasn't Changed
The company is still stonewalling.

A Civil Action: Factual Errors in the Movie
The truth is more powerful than fiction.

In her Own Words ...
Anne Anderson explains how it all happened

Could it happen here?
Pollution and poisoned groundwater are not unique to Woburn

About the reporter

Background information about Woburn and the reporter

E-mail Charles C. Ryan for questions or comments.

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