Love Canal

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The Love Canal Chemical Waste Dump

During 1920 , Hooker Chemical had turned an area in Niagra Falls into a municipal and chemical disposal sight. After a few years, in 1953, the sight was filled and relatively modern methods were applied to cover it. A thick layer of impermeable red clay was used to seal the dump and prevent chemicals from overflowing from the landfill. Soon after, a city near the dump site wanted to buy the area for urban expansion. Despite the warnings Hooker gave the city, the soon bought the area for a meagre amount of one dollar. Hooker obviously couldn’t sell the area for more because they didn’t want to earn money off a project that was clearly unwise. When the city began to dig to develop a sewer, they penetrated the red clay layer that was put down. Many homes and a school were built and in the neighbourhood “Love Canal.”

“Love Canal’’ seemed like any other neighborhood, the only thing that distinguished this neighborhood from the rest was the strange odor that floated around the neighbourhood and the unusual seepage inhabitants noticed in their basements and their yards. Children in this neighborhood often fell ill, and expecting mothers and their families often experienced miscarriages and birth defects of their newborns. Lois Gibbs, an activist, noticed how high the occurences of the birth defects and illness in the area and began documenting it. Finally in 1978 newspapers had revealed the existence of the chemical waste dump in the “Love Canal” area, Lois Gibbs soon started petitioning for closing the nearby school. In 1978, the claim succeeded and the NYS Health Department closed the school due to a child suffering chemical poisoning.

When they researched “Love Canal” they found over 130 pounds of highly toxic carcinogenic TCDD, a type of dioxin, was discovered. The complete total of 20,000 tons of waste discovered present in the landfill had appeared to contain more than 248 different species of chemicals. The waste...
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