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Shoot: Toxics: Love Canal Campaign

GP029S8
Residents of Love Canal, a neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York, organized and forced historic changes when they discovered that their community and school were built on top of a toxic waste dump. The Niagara Falls School District purchased the area from Hooker Chemical, later purchased by Occidental Petroleum, for $1 in 1953. Hooker warned in the sale document that the area was contaminated by toxic chemicals but the 99th Street School and a playground were built on the site which then became surrounded by family homes. In 1978, the Niagara Falls Gazette published a series of articles about the 20,000 tons of buried chemicals leaking into basements and puddling in yards. On Aug. 2, 1978, state health commissioner Robert Whalen announced a state of emergency at Love Canal and recommended that pregnant women and children under the age of two temporarily move, as soon as possible, but did not offer any financial help. Within days, the governor announced that the state would buy the 239 homes closest to the canal. Homeowner activist and mother of two, Lois Gibbs, became president of the Love Canal Homeowners Association. She continued fighting to convince the state and federal government to buy 660 outer-ring homes as well. The final decision to purchase the remaining homes came in May of 1980, after sources leaked the results of an EPA pilot study that found chromosome damage in 11 of 36 residents tested. Media coverage of Love Canal peaked, and the homeowners detained two visiting EPA officials (the press called them "hostages") in an effort to draw more attention to their situation. The specter of genetic damage pushed the state to speed its buyout of approximately 700 more homes. Finally, President Jimmy Carter agreed to evacuate the residents, and Gibbs and her neighbors were able to move out. Love Canal also spawned the Superfund law. In 1980, President Carter signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act, creating a fund paid into by waste generators for cleanup of the nation's most toxic sites. The program is nearly out of money now and has a huge backlog of sites needing cleanup, but it established the "polluter pays" concept. In 2010, nearly half of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of one of the EPA's 1,304 active and proposed Superfund sites, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit group dedicated to investigative journalism.
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
1 Nov, 1980
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
1 Nov, 1980
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
1 Nov, 1980
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
1 Nov, 1980
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
Love Canal Community Evacuates
1 Nov, 1980
Love Canal Community Evacuates
Love Canal Community Evacuates
1 Nov, 1980
Love Canal Community Evacuates
Love Canal Community Evacuates
1 Nov, 1980
Love Canal Community Evacuates
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
1 Nov, 1980
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
1 Nov, 1980
Toxics: Documentation of Love Canal.
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