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Love Canal

In the late 1970s, Love Canal—first a toxic waste site, then a neighborhood in southeastern Niagara Falls, New York—ignited national concerns on hazardous waste disposal and its possible health effects. Following closure of the waste facility in 1953, the land surrounding Love Canal was developed into a bluecollar neighborhood. From the time of its development, residents complained of contamination and health problems. In 1978, high groundwater levels surfaced toxic waste, leading President Jimmy Carter to declare the first man-made federal emergency. Two years later, the crisis at Love Canal provided the impetus for the creation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or Superfund.

Background

By the end of the 19th century, Niagara Falls, New York, was a heavily industrialized city. To provide hydroelectricity for ...

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