Sunday, September 7, 2008

Love Canal

Love Canal is not at all about love. The canal in upstate New York near Niagara Falls was named after the man, William T, Love, who originally owned the property that included the canal. In the 1920s, after he sold his land, the canal turned into an industrial waste site. Later, in the 1950s, the owners of the property, the Hooker Chemical Company, covered the contaminated canal with dirt and sold the land to the city. Homes and a school were built on the site. In 1978, a sad story broke, announcing almost 100 compounds had been dumped at the site and at least 10 were likely carcinogens. The chemicals leached into the fields of neighborhood homes and the school, and record rainfall worsened the contamination.

Children started returning home with burns all over their bodies, miscarriages were reported, and children were born with defects. Residents were found to have high white-blood-cell counts, a precursor of leukemia. Evacuations began. Finally, to stem the flood of complaints from residents, the governor of New York, Hugh Carey, agreed to have the state purchase the land, and the US Senate approved financial aid for victims.

Check online to find out more about the Love Canal disaster, and relate what you find to the story told in Erin Brockovich. (The Univeristy of Buffalo archives offers Love Canal Related Links.) Post your comments.

Photo: "Sister Margeen Hoffman, former Executive Director of the ETF leads a protest against the chemical corportation, CECOS, circa 1982" from http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/specialcollections/lovecanal/ University of Buffalo archives

9 comments:

Kate said...

This story is tragic and it is highly unfortunate that years after the contamination was discovered the legal battle still hasn't been settled and many still suffer with grief and illness.

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jackie said...

I felt so sad when I read about the children born with deformities. No parent should have to see their child go through such trials. I hope they received large compensation from the government and the companies responsible for the toxic dumping

Teresa said...

I can't even imagine how angry the people who lived there must be. Chemicals were knowingly covered up and then houses were built on top. And then, action wasn't taken until there was harm noticeably being done to people...it's just tragic like Kate said.

alyssa said...

I don't understand how the people who work in these factories and plants can cover up toxic waste materials knowing the damage they can do to others. Just like in the movie when Erin asks the guy from the water board how he can live with himself knowing he has the proof against PG&E in his hands, how can these people not admit to their carelessness with dangerous chemicals when people are going to live on the polluted land? Admitting mistakes isn't easy, but when people's lives are at stake you'd hope that doing so wouldn't be as difficult.

jackie said...

It makes you really question the morals of some people. I guess even knowing people will be harmed, people are cruel and will do anything for increasing profits!

Ashlee said...

Jackie is right, one really does question some people's morals when hearing about something like this. What I wonder is how the town had no idea at all about the site being toxic waste covered up.

Ashlee said...

And by town, I mean town officials who bought the land. Sorry, got a little ahead of myself.

Hannah said...

The story of love canal is heatbreaking. How could those companies to that to the people in the area? No one should have to endure the things people affected by love canal did.

Blog Archive

Contributors