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Love Canal


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A disused canal at Niagara Falls, New York, that became a toxic waste dump for the Hooker Chemical Company. Among the toxic chemicals dumped there were large quantities of PCBs and dioxins, which permeated aquifers and contaminated Lake Ontario, causing an epidemic of reproductive failure in fish-eating seabird colonies as the toxins bioconcentrated in marine food chains. Public outrage arose in the 1970s and early 1980s when residents of nearby homes fell ill and a small localized cluster of birth defects and childhood cancers occurred, although this was never unequivocally demonstrated to be attributable to environmental pollution by PCBs or dioxins. Concern about the toxins released from Love Canal led to legislation that created the Superfund.

Subjects: Environmental Science — Public Health and Epidemiology.


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