"Retro Report: Love Canal and Its Mixed Legacy"

"The 1970s began with a remarkable pulse of federal legislation aimed at protecting endangered species and restoring the nation’s air and waters. But it took until 1978 for another type of environmental threat, toxic hot spots left behind by industrial activity, to gain the spotlight."

"The galvanizing story was that of the frightened, outraged homeowners around Love Canal, an unfinished waterway in upstate New York that, in the industrial boom around World War II, became a chemical dump. Covered with dirt, the 16-acre site in 1953 was sold under pressure by the Hooker Chemical Company to the local school district for a dollar, with the paperwork including a warning about what lay there.

Nonetheless, a school was built. Suburbia encroached. Then 35 years ago, the site’s buried and largely forgotten history made national headlines as contaminants seeped into some nearby homes and residents complained of illness, miscarriages and other effects."

Andrew C. Revkin reports for the New York Times November 25, 2013, with an 11-minute video produced by JP Olsen.

Source: NY Times, 11/27/2013