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Love Canal Collections

Love Canal Glossary



Individuals and Buildings

99th Street School

The first structure built on the Love Canal site after the land was acquired by the Niagara Falls School Board in 1953. During construction of the 99th Street School in 1954, contractors discovered chemical seepage under the foundation. In response, the School Board approved the decision to shift the entire site. Even after the school officially opened its doors in 1955, the chemical wastes were still apparent near the children's playground. The school was permanently closed in September 1978 after local residents demanded action to keep their children safe from harmful chemicals.

Abrams, Robert
New York State Attorney General from 1978-1994, Abrams was involved with the litagation against Hooker Chemical.

Axelrod, David
New York State Health Commissioner from 1979-1991. Said in June 1980, "None of the tests provide scientific proof that Love Canal chemicals have caused human illness." Later in September 1988, Axelrod made the Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area: Decision on Habitability report public saying that "government has a responsibility to exercise public health judgments on behalf of its citizens. In the specific case of Love Canal, this responsibility follows directly from the potential of adverse consequences to human health posed by the pollution of a residential community with toxic chemicals, and government's own decision to limit risks to public health by the evacuation and relocation of local residents."

Boniello, Ralph A.
Deputy Corporation Counsel for the City of Niagara Falls from circa 1940-1965. Boniello is credited as advising the Niagara Falls Board of Education against the "risk and possible liability" for accepting Hooker Chemical's terms for the Love Canal property back in 1953.

Brown, Michael
Reporter for the Niagara Gazette who wrote a series of reports on hazardous waste problems in Niagara Falls including at Love Canal. In 1979 Brown published Laying Waste: The Poisoning of America by Toxic Chemicals on Love Canal and other toxic waste sites.

Brown, Patricia A.
Pat Brown served as the Executive Director of the Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier from 1989-1991. Brown volunteered at the ETF since its inception in 1979 and later joined the staff as Resource Center Manager in 1981.
    (See University Archives collection MS 65)

Carter, Jimmy
President of the United States from 1977-1981. Declared Love Canal a national emergency in August 1978. On December 11, 1980, President Carter signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) into law. Commonly known as "Superfund", this new act provided billions of dollars to clean-up environmental disaster areas.

Carey, Hugh L.
New York State Governor from 1974-1982. Carey established the Love Canal Area Revitalization Agency (LCARA) on June 1980.

Cornell, Frank
Last of the Executive Directors for the Love Canal Area Revitalization Agency (LCARA). Cornell was instrumnetal in donating LCARA's papers to the University Archives.
    (See University Archives collection MS 74)

Cuomo, Mario
New York State Governor from 1982-1994

Falcon Manor
The military housing complex in the Town of Niagara where the first thirty-seven families were temporarily relocated in August 1978 after Love Canal was declared a national disaster site.

Gibbs, Lois
While president of the Love Canal Homeowners Association (LCHA) Gibbs confronted government officials in the fight for resident's rights. In 1981 she founded the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, an organization to help grassroots groups similar to the LCHA get the information they need on issues such as human rights and chemical exposure.

Hale, Joann
Hale was a Love Canal resident who was active in various local organizations. She was a spokesperson for the Love Canal Homeowners Association, a trustee of the Love Canal Medical Trust and a representative of the United Church of Christ on the ETF board. In 1998, Hale became a member of the Church World Service Disaster Relief.

Hoffman, Sister Margeen
Executive Director of the Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier from 1979-1988
    (See University Archives collection MS 65)

Kenny, Luella
A former Love Canal resident and research scientist at Roswell Park Memorial Institute (today the Roswell Park Cancer Institute), Kenny was involved with the former Citizens Clearing House for Hazardous Waste and the Love Canal Medical Fund.

Lippes, Richard J.
Attorney initially hired by the Love Canal Homeowners Association in 1978 to bring the class-action claim against Occidental Chemical Corporation, Occidental Petroleum, the city of Niagara Falls, Niagara County and the Niagara Falls Board of Education.

LaFlace, John J.
United States Representative (Democrat, Town of Tonawanda) from 1975-2002. His district encompasses the Love Canal area.

Levine, Adeline
Professor of Sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1968-circa 1990. Levine's published book, Love Canal: Science, Politics, and People (1982) examined the crisis at Love Canal by following the development of local community organizations and scrutinizing the government's response.
    (See University Archives collections)

Love, William T.
Conceived a way to create hydroelectric power for a proposed "Model City" by building a canal under the Niagara River in order to by-pass Niagara Falls. The canal was never fully built and the area became known as "Love Canal".

Moynihan, Daniel P.
United States Senator (Democrat, New York) from 1975-1976

O'Laughlin, Michael C.
Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls, New York from ?-1990 and a board member of the Love Canal Area Revitalization Agency (LCARA)

Paigen, Dr. Beverly
A cancer research scientist working at Roswell Park Memorial Institute (today the Roswell Park Cancer Institute) in Buffalo New York during the time of the Love Canal area disaster. Dr. Paigen's studies in genetic susceptibility to environmental toxins were used as testimony of the health risks associated with the cancer causing chemicals at Love Canal. She also served on the Ecumenical Task Force's Scientific and Technical Advisory Board.

Whalen, Robert D.
New York State Health Commissioner from ?-1978. On August 2, 1978, Commissioner Whalen declared Love Canal a state of emergency.


Organizations and Citizens Groups

Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)
Formerly known as the Citizens Clearing House for Hazardous Waste, this national group educates the public with scientific information on hazardous and toxic chemicals.

Citizens Clearing House for Hazardous WasteFounded by Lois Gibbs, the first board of directors included Adeline Levine, Beverely Paigens and Luella Kenny. Today it is known as the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)

Durez Area Residents Association
Formed in response to the discovery of dioxin and other hazardous chemicals in the soil and water sources surrounding Durez Corporation's plant in North Tonawanda, New York.

Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara Frontier
Non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of human and natural resources from chemical and radiological contamination in the Western New York area and within the Great Lakes eco-system.
    (See University Archives collection MS 65)

Gannett Foundation
The Frank E. Gannett Newspaper Foundation provided an emergency grant in August 1978 for the temporary relocation of the first thirty-seven families whose health was considered to be in immediate jeopardy.

Love Canal Concerned Area Residents
Groups of former residents of the LaSalle Development and Garden Senior Citizen Complex which were Love Canal residential areas demolished.

Love Canal Environmental Action Committee
A group formed to represent the interests and concerns of the remaining residents of the Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area.

Love Canal Homeowners Association (LCHA)
High-profile citizen's organization established in August 1978 as a way to give a voice to the residents of Love Canal. It grew out of the Love Canal Parents Association founded by resident Lois Gibbs.

Love Canal Medical Fund, Inc. (LCMF)
Established on January 4, 1985 in accordance with the settlement for the court case, Urban et al. v. Occidental Chemical Corporation et al., the LCMF is charged with providing the one million dollars in benefits to the 1,328 plaintiffs who incur medical expenses related to medical problems associated with exposure to toxic chemicals emanating from Love Canal.

Love Canal Renters Association
A group formed to keep tenants of the LaSalle Devlopment complex apprised of Love Canal issues.


Hazardous Waste Management Facilities and Chemical Companies

CECOS International, Inc.
A Niagara Falls based waste services company providing collection, recycling and disposal services (today owned by Allied Waste)

CH2M Hill
In 1982 the CH2M Hill company that provided chemical analysis and groundwater testing for the Love Canal area under the Superfund Program. Although the company had long since cemented its reputation in the environmental arena of water and wastewater treatment, this was their first time dealing with hazardous and toxic wastes.

Durez Corporation
Formerly known as Durez Plastics, this company was a division of Hooker Chemical with a plant complex and chemical waste dump located in North Tonawanda, New York.

Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation
Company that manufactured and supplied a vast array of organic and inorganic chemicals as well as equipment to industries throughout the world. In 1978, Hooker Chemical's plant complex along the Niagara River was the largest single chemical facility in New York State. Today Hooker Chemical has been completely assumed by their parent company, Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem).

Newco Chemical Waste Systems, Inc.
Former name of CECOS International, Inc.

Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem)
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, OxyChem incorporated Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation in 1968. Named as a responsible party of much of the litigation, OxyChem was finally fined $129 million in 1995 to return funds spent on the cleanup of Love Canal.

SCA Services, Inc.
A private industrial waste management operation at Model City near Lewiston, New York, known today as Chemical Waste Management Services.


Waste Sites

102 Street Landfill
Located just south of Love Canal, the 102nd Street Landfill consists of two land parcels totaling 22.1 acres. Occidental Chemical Corporation owns 15.6 acres and the remaining 6.5 acres are owned by Olin Chemical Corporation. While in use as a landfill, tons of mixed organic solvents, organic and inorganic phosphates, and related chemicals were deposited at the landfill including brine sludge, fly ash, and other hazardous chemicals.

CECOS: Niagara Site
Located on a 385-acre tract in an industrial-commercial area of Niagara County. The facility contains a variety of waste operations, including an operating sanitary landfill, 10 closed landfills, a wastewater treatment facility and a container storage facility. First used for waste disposal in 1897, CECOS began using the Niagara Site for hazardous waste treatment storage and disposal starting in 1977.

Durez Corporation: North Tonawanda Plant
In 1982 Durez Corporation discovered dioxin and other hazardous chemicals in the soil and water sources surrounding the plant. Durez Corporation's parent company Hooker Chemical became reluctant to commit to further studies or interviews under oath regarding the matter. In May 1983, New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams filed a lawsuit against Hooker Chemical charging improper waste disposal.

Forest Glen
The Forest Glen site is an 11-acre former mobile home park. The mobile home park was built on land where chemical wastes had been illegally disposed. In 1980, the Niagara County Health Department detected contamination on the site. Its owners had arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances at the site and developed the mobile home park after a thin layer of topsoil was used to cover-up the hazardous waste. While 14 parties were originally identified as responsible for dumping at Forest Glen, four are currently involved in cleaning up the Forest Glen site: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Niagara Falls USA Camp Site, Inc., and two individuals.

Hyde Park
Hyde Park is a residential community located a few blocks from a former 15-acre hazardous waste landfill of the same name. The landfill was once used by Hooker Chemical to dispose of approximately 80,000 tons of waste during the years 1953-1975. The nearby Bloody Run Creek serves as the drainage basin for the landfill area and flows directly into the Niagara River.

Love Canal
Neighborhood near Niagara Falls, New York defined as being bound by Colvin Boulevard, 100th Street, Frontier Avenue, & 95th Street. To the north is Bergholtz Creek and the Niagara River is a quarter mile to the south.

Love Canal: Emergency Declaration Area
The area of the Love Canal neighborhood initially deemed unsafe for habitation. Defining the ares in rings, the Emergency Declaration Area refers to Ring 1 which was the worst area and directly on or near the original canal and Ring 2 which was not considered fit for residential use.

Model City
Neighborhood near Lewiston, New York used in part by the Atomic Energy Commission during WWII to dump radioactive waste. Later the entire site was purchased by SCA Services, Inc. (today known as Chemical Waste Management Services), a private industrial waste management operation. Model City was also the nickname William T. Love called his proposed city to be built at his "Love Canal".

NIACHLOR
Niachlor was a joint-venture formed by the DuPont Company and Olin Corporation to produce caustic soda and chlorine in October 1985. In 1997 DuPont sold it's share of the join-venture to Olin.

S-Area
The S-Area site is an 8-acre industrial landfill owned by Hooker Chemical. It is located adjacent to the City of Niagara Falls Drinking Water Treatment Plant (DWTP). During the years 1947-1961, Hooker Chemical disposed of approximately 63,000 tons of chemical processing wastes. In an 1969 inspection of the DWTP, chemicals were found in the bedrock water intake structures. Later, an 1978 sampling revealed chemical contamination.


Legislation

New York State

State Environment Quality Review Act (SEQR)
Legislation introduced on November 1, 1978 to require all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making. This means these agencies must assess the environmental significance of all actions they have discretion to approve, fund or directly undertake. SEQR requires the agencies to balance the environmental impacts with social and economic factors when deciding to approve or undertake an "Action" (definition from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's web site).

Federal

Clean Water Act
First established in 1972, the Clean Water Act creates laws to protect the quality of surface water. In 1977, several key amendments were made to the act allowing the United States Environmental Protection Agency to establish the basic structure for regulating pollutants discharges into the waters of the United States.

Superfund
Months after declaring Love Canal a federal emergency, U.S. President Jimmy Carter signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) into law. Commonly known as "Superfund", this new act provided billions of dollars to clean-up environmental disaster areas. With assistance from Superfund, Love Canal residents were able to be relocated, buildings in the most contaminated section of Love Canal were bull-dozed, and the clean-up of the area began.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Established in 1976, this Act provides for the comprehensive regulation of hazardous waste and authorizes environmental agencies to conduct any emergency cleanup of contaminated sites. Under the RCRA, EPA was able to make grants available to establish programs assuring the safe handling and disposal of hazardous wastes and requiring inventories of industrial waste disposal sites with full assessments of any potential dangers created by these sites.


Government Agencies

New York State

Land Use Advisory Committee
Established by New York State Health Commissioner, David Axelrod, in 1988, the Land Use Advisory Committee was comprised of local citizens and community leaders to review the State's habitability decision and explore methods of remediation.

Love Canal Area Revitalization Agency (LCARA)
A government agency established by New York Governor, Hugh Carey on June 18, 1980 to organize the rehabilitation effort of the properties in the Emergency Declaration Area of Love Canal. The agency was formally disbanded in 2003.
    (See University Archives collection MS 74)

Love Canal Task Force
An interagency task force established by New York State Governor Hugh Carey to assess the health risk and coordinate plans for permanent evacuation for Love Canal residents. They were also in charge of determining the extent of chemical migration from the area and overseeing the clean-up process for the site itself.

NYSDEC
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

NYSDOH
New York State Department of Health -- conducted the initial investigation of air and soil levels in the Love Canal area after pressure from the Love Canal Homeowners Association.

NYSDOT
New York State Department of Transportation -- assisted FEMA with the relocation of affected Love Canal residents.

New York State Subcommittee on Hazardous Waste
Established to investigate illegal dumping and pollutants.

Federal

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Directly involved in property purchase and residential relocation activities. FEMA provided temporary housing for affected residents and built an emergency treatment facility to contain further migration of the chemical leachate.

Love Canal Relocation Task Force
Task Force appointed on June 9, 1980 by the office of the United States President in response to FEMA's emergency evacuation of Love Canal residents. Its role was to address permanent relocation issues and determine what types of existing programs could be packaged for persons desiring to move out of the Love Canal area.

Love Canal Technical Review Committee (TRC)
Created in August 1983 by the United States EPA to provide interagency management of Love Canal issues and to develop a scientifically sound approach for determining the habitability of the Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area.

EPA
United States Environmental Protection Area

United States Office of Technology Assessment
One of the organizations to conduct habitability studies regarding the potential threat to human life at Love Canal.


Issues

Chromosome studies
Initiated by the United States Department of Justice in 1980, Dr. Dante Picciano of Biogenics Corporation (in association with Dr. Beverly Paigen, who helped design the study) conducted a cytotoxicity study and found that a third of Love Canal residents showed chromosomal aberrations. The EPA announced only four days after the study's release that 2,500 Love Canal residents would be relocated. But they denied that this was done merely because of the cytotoxicity study -- they claimed it was a result of the mounting evidence from many directions.

Habitability studies
According to the Superfund legislation, the EPA was directed to conduct a habitability study to asses the risks associated with inhabiting the Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area. The study also compared the level of hazardous waste contamination and assessed the potential future use of the land.

Hazardous chemicals
A significant number of hazardous chemicals were found to be present in the water, soil and air at Love Canal including Dioxins (chemical found in Agent Orange and known to be one of the deadliest posions), Chlorobenzene (chemical used in the production of many pesticides and which exposure to high levels can cause damage in the liver and kidneys and affect the brain), Chloroform, Benzene (a chemical used in making rubber and plastics and which prolonged exposure can cause anemia and leukemia) and Lindane (not currently produced in the United States, this chemical was used in many insecticides and can cause blood disorders, dizziness, headaches, and seizures).

Health issues
There were many studies on the correlations between Love Canal resident's health and the toxins found present in the surrounding water, soil and air. Many tests were conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and by Dr. Beverly Paigen looking for increase rates of miscarriages, birth defects, asthma, urinary disease, and other health issues in local residents health.