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Love Canal - An Introduction



Author(s) Mark A. Zaremba
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Year 1998
Publisher provided Keywords ENGINEERING ENVIRONMENTAL ethics
Publisher National Academy of Engineering, Online Ethics Center

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Timeline of Events at Love Canal
  • 1942 -- Hooker Chemical Company begins dumping of chemical wastes at Love Canal
  • 1947 -- Hooker Corporation buys the 16-acre dump site
  • 1952 -- City of Niagara Falls disposes of municipal wastes at the site
  • 1953 -- Hooker Corporation fills the canal and sells the land to Niagara Falls Board of Education
  • 1955 -- Elementary school (99th Street) opens
  • 1959 -- Chemical seepage into basement is reported
  • 1974 -- Surface of dump begins to collapse and barrels of chemicals are exposed
  • 1976 -- NYDEC documents widespread contamination of sewers and sumps in the neighborhood
  • 1977 --
    • Local reporter begins investigating possible links of contamination to illness
    • City's consultant reports contamination
    • City contacts U.S. Congressman LaFalce
    • Regional USEPA visits site with Congressman LaFalce
  • 1978 --
    • USEPA samples air in basements, while NYDEC personnel sample sump pumps and storm sewers
    • Dr. Robert Whalen, NY Commissioner of Health, visits Love Canal and issues an order to country health officials to reduce accessibility to the site and to begin health studies
    • NYSDH officials meet with Love Canal residents to ask for their cooperation in studies
    • New York legislature authorizes health studies
    • NYSDH conducts pilot study
    • New York legislature gives NYDEC full regulatory authority over hazardous wastes in the state
    • Dr. Whalen convenes Blue-Ribbon Panel
    • Dr. Whalen declares health emergency and orders extension of health studies, relocation of women and children living in first and second rings, and closing of 99th Street School
    • Governor Carey appoints Love Canal interagency task force
    • Love Canal Homeowners Association (LCHA) is formed
    • President Carter declares a "state of emergency" and approves emergency financial aid
    • Blood samples are taken from second ring and beyond
    • Access to site is further restricted; remedial plans are developed
    • Paigen and LCHA conduct pilot study
    • NYSDH initiates daily monitoring of the chemical exposure of workers hired to clean the site
    • NYSDH expands study population
    • Blue-Ribbon panel reviews Paigen's preliminary results of wet versus dry homes
    • Axelrod replaces Whalen as State Commissioner of Health
    • NYSDH reevaluates its data on adverse reproductive effects
  • 1979 --
    • NYSDH expands study population north of Colvin Boulevard
    • NYSDH reports increased frequencies of adverse reproductive effects for women in wet homes and recommends all pregnant women and children less than two years of age evacuate
    • U.S. Congress holds Joint Hearings on hazardous wastes problem
    • DHEW and USEPA recommend additional studies and minimization of exposure for residents
    • USEPA contracts for a pilot study of chromosomal damage
    • Love Canal Inter-Agency Task Force is dissolved
    • U.S. Justice Department files a lawsuit against Hooker Chemical Corporation
  • 1980 --
    • New York State Attorney files a lawsuit against Hooker Corporation and Occidental Petroleum
    • USEPA reports Picciano results
    • LCHA holds two USEPA officials hostage
    • President Carter declares a second federal emergency in the Love Canal area
    • Love Canal Revitalization Agency is created
    • Governor issues an executive order to create a review panel
    • Governor's Panel issues its "Thomas Report" on health studies
    • CERCLA (Superfund) is enacted
  • 1981 --
    • NYSDH publishes results of a study of cancer rates
    • Federal government closes its on-site office in Niagara Falls
    • CDC initiates cytoxicity study
  • 1983 -- Former residents and Occidental settle lawsuits
  • 1984 -- New clay cap is installed over canal
  • 1985 -- Some former residents receive compensation from settled lawsuits
  • 1987 -- USEPA decides to burn soil contaminated with dioxin
  • 1988 -- Occidental Petroleum Company is found liable for cleanup costs
  • 1989 -- Consent agreement is reached between the U.S. government and Occidental
Cite this page: "Timeline of Events at Love Canal" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 4/7/2006 OEC Accessed: Thursday, July 11, 2019 <>