Despair At Love Canal

Kathryn Elliott-Yucaipa-Calimesa JUSD


In the 1970's, Love Canal was a residential suburb of Niagara Falls, New York. It appeared to be a normal American neighbourhood. However, over time, alarming circumstances were being noticed. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) did an informal test in 1980, and found that 11 of 36 residents tested had chromosomal damage visible in their blood tests. Of 22 babies born (in the year before evacuation) to families in the most affected areas, 18 were born with birth defects. A little boy named Jon Kenney died of kidney failure, while many of his friends became ill after playing in local ponds and streams. These bodies of water were later found to contain dangerously high levels of dioxin, a lethal chemical.

Over 280 chemicals were found in the ground water around Love Canal. Due to a series of bad and possibly corrupt decisions, an environmental disaster was born. Love Canal became the first "Superfund" site, designated by the government for massive clean up.

Now, 20 years later, the last lawsuits have just been settled, and grandchildren are being born with birth defects. One former resident has five grandchildren, all with birth defects.


What happened at Love Canal, and who is to blame? Move on to the Activities page to find out what to do next!

Team Page

Teacher Corner

Show your stuff

How did you do