Love Canal: Horrors & Heroes.

In 1977, Niagara Gazette reporter Michael Brown wrote articles detailing the 20,000 tons of toxic waste buried under the 99th Street Elementary School. Lois Gibbs, a 101st Street resident of Love Canal, took these articles to her brother-in-law, a biology professor. He confirmed her worse fears that these chemicals can affect the central nervous system. Her 5-year-old son, who attended the elementary school, had been suffering from epilepsy, asthma, liver problems, and a urinary tract disorder. All of these problems had started since moving to Love Canal. Gibbs began working with Dr. Beverly Paigen of Roswell Memorial Institute where they evaluated 245 houses that were not in the ring closest to the waste. In those families there were 34 miscarriages, 18 birth defects, 19 nervous breakdowns, 10 epilepsy cases and high rates of hyperactivity and suicide. Further studies completed in 2008 found that rates of congenital malformations were twice that expected compared to the external standard population. The horrors for some as a result of exposure continue to this day.

Michael Brown & Lois Gibbs efforts resulted in daily front-line media coverage. This was a turning point for environmental awareness and helped shape the methods we use in the lab today. The analysis done in environmental labs has a huge impact in protecting the public and ultimately saving lives. This one goes out to the heroes: Michael Brown, Lois Gibbs & Environmental Labs across the county.

More information on Love Canal can be found on page 6 of  Optimizing the Analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds


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