Love Canal Residents Say Health Problems Still Exist

11:55 PM, Oct 22, 2013   |    comments
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NIAGARA FALLS, NY - There was a huge health crisis 35 years ago in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls. A state of emergency was issued, evacuating people from their homes, because of contamination from a local landfill.

Keith Boos lives in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, near the Love Canal landfill site, that still remains there off Colvin Boulevard.

Boos moved to the area 15 years ago to raise a family and thought all the stories of the Love Canal contamination from the 1970s were over.

"We were told the area was safe, the contamination was contained," he said.

But since then, he says many members of his family have gotten sick, including himself and that he's been diagnosed with lung disease. Boos believes that Love Canal continues to cause health problems. He says air testing has been done in his home and that they show dangerous chemicals are in the air.

"There are excessive levels of dangerous chemicals in my home, that my family breathes in everyday is contaminated and life threatening," he said.

The concerns about Love Canal stretch more than three decades.
In the mid to late 70s, Lois Gibbs led the fight to get the government to do testing of the site and clean it up. Chemicals were leaking from the landfill, but Gibbs was met with political resistance. Finally, the state declared a state of emergency and evacuated 800 families and a school when it discovered numerous chemicals, due to toxic waste there.

It wasn't until 1999 that this land was cleaned up.

Since then, Gibbs has left the area and returned back to Love Canal Tuesday.

"How dare they say, that this area is safe, this area can never be safe," she said.

On Tuesday, Gibbs took a walk around the the Love Canal, which she fought so hard to protect. She met with supporters like Boos who say they can't afford to leave the area.

And both of them say that there are still chemicals coming from the site and leaking into waterways and the sewer system.

Lawsuits are pending against Occidental Petroleum, which is responsible for the property. And one day many current and past residents of this area would like to see the landfill relocated.

Residents are also concerned about two projects they think will have health effects in the future. They are the expansions at Covanta Energy the Chemical Waste Management landfill.


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