About . Chronologies. He was a driven and charismatic man, who filled … Updates? A portion of Love Canal was a dump site for toxic chemicals and waste for a good part of the 20th century. Before it was a waste dump, the unfinished Love Canal was a recreational spot that attracted swimmers and skaters. It was in 1978 when we started the Love Canal Homeowners Association to respond to the industrial waste dump that was poisoning our community in New York State. Quite simply, Love Canal is one of the most appalling environmental tragedies in American history. Love Canal and other community battles have taught us that how studies are conducted and by whom is crucial to deriving useful and credible information. In 1978, however, state officials detected the leakage of toxic chemicals from underground into the basements of homes in the area. Love Canal, neighbourhood in Niagara Falls, N.Y., U.S., that was the site of the worst environmental disaster involving chemical wastes in U.S. history. The Love Canal area was originally the site of an abandoned canal that became a dumping ground for nearly 22,000 tons of chemical waste (including polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxin, and pesticides) produced by the Hooker Chemicals and … In 1994 Occidental agreed to pay $98 million to New York to compensate the state for its contribution to the cleanup of Love Canal. https://www.britannica.com/place/Love-Canal, Fact Monster - United States - Love Canal, Niagara Falls, New York, United States. Love Canal was a defining moment in history, one that catapulted toxic waste into national worry. NOW 50% OFF! It was named after William T. Love, a man who planned to dig a short canal between the Niagara Rivers that would supply power to his model city. Three chronological histories of Love Canal. The canal gradually filled up with water and for the next twenty years became a recreational spot for swimmers and skaters. But that's not the most disturbing fact. Love Canal, neighbourhood in Niagara Falls, N.Y., U.S., that was the site of the worst environmental disaster involving chemical wastes in U.S. history. CHEJ is a national organization that assists local people to become empowered to protect their communities from environmental threats. Located just a few miles from Niagara Falls, it was supposed to become a model community representing modern living. The Love Canal Tragedy by Eckardt C. Beck [EPA Journal - January 1979] U.S. Sues Hooker Chemical at Niagara Falls, New York [EPA press release - December 20, 1979] EPA, New York State Announce Temporary Relocation of Love Canal Residents [EPA press release - May 21, 1980] New York State and U.S. EPA Sign $7 Million Love Canal Cleanup Agreement Love Canal is an aborted canal project branching off of the Niagara River about four miles south of Niagara Falls.  It is also the name of a fifteen-acre, working-class neighborhood of around 800 single-family homes built directly adjacent to the canal.  From 1942 to 1953, the Hooker Chemical Company, with government sanction, began using the partially dug canal as a chemical waste dump.  At the end of this period, the contents of the canal consisted of around 21,000 tons of toxic chemicals, including at least twelve that are known carcinogens (halogenated organics, chlorobenzenes, and dioxin among them).  Hooker capped the 16-acre hazardous waste landfill in clay and sold the land to the Niagara Falls School Board, attempting to absolve itself of any future liability by including a warning in the property deed.  Â, Public awareness of the disaster unfolded in the late 1970s when investigative newspaper coverage and grassroots door-to-door health surveys began to reveal a series of inexplicable illnesses—epilepsy, asthma, migraines, and nephrosis—and abnormally high rates of birth defects and miscarriages in the Love Canal neighborhood.  As it turns out, consecutive wet winters in the late 1970s raised the water table and caused the chemicals to leach (via underground swales and a sewer system that drained into nearby creeks) into the basements and yards of neighborhood residents, as well as into the playground of the elementary school built directly over the canal.  After a series of frustrating encounters with apathetic NYS officials, who were slow to act but quick to dismiss the activists (most of whom were working-class women who lived in the neighborhood) as a collection of hysterical housewives, President Jimmy Carter declared a state of emergency in 1978 and had the federal government relocate 239 families.  This left 700 families who federal officials viewed as being at insufficient risk to warrant relocation, even though tests conducted by the NYS Department of Health revealed that toxic substances were leaching into their homes.  After another hard battle, activists forced Carter to declare a second state of emergency in 1981, during which the remaining families were relocated.  The total cost for relocation of all the families was $17 million.Â, Love Canal quickly came to symbolize the looming environmental disaster represented by untold numbers of toxic waste disposal sites scattered throughout America.  Legislators and activists alike have tapped the momentum generated by Love Canal activism in their efforts to deal with this dangerous and costly problem.  On the level of public policy, lawmakers used the national publicity generated by the Love Canal disaster to push for new legislation to hold polluters financially responsible for cleaning up their toxic waste sites.  The result was the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act—better known as Superfund.  A less well-known but equally important outcome of Love Canal was the emergence of a militant, grassroots “environmental justice” movement.  This movement, which was fueled by mounting frustration with mainstream environmentalism’s failure to address the disproportionate impact of toxic pollution on working-class and minority communities, launched anti-toxics campaigns in hundreds of cities across the nation.Â, © 2020 SUNY Geneseo The canal was capped and fenced off, and the buildings around it were razed. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Human action has triggered a vast cascade of environmental problems that now threaten the continued ability of both natural and human systems to flourish. However, Love Canal became a national story thanks to the organizing efforts of Lois Gibbs, a mother who fought to protect Love Canal’s children, … Omissions? The Love Canal refers to one of the most tragic environmental manmade disasters in the world's history. Love canal is located in Niagara Falls, New York and is the site of a seventy-acre landfill. What is worse is that it cannot be regarded as an isolated event. Love Canal Follow-up Health Study. Love Canal Map. Love Canal is an aborted canal project branching off of the Niagara River about four miles south of Niagara Falls. 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