BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It has now been 35 years since the emergency declaration at Love Canal, one of the worst environmental disasters in United States history. The infamous neighborhood in Niagara Falls became the center of a crusade against toxic waste. The housewife who spearheaded that nationwide mission, Lois Gibbs, has returned Tuesday to where those homes once stood.
After the disaster, residents were told the chemicals were contained and it was safe to move back to the neighborhood. Hundreds of families did just that. Gibbs, who led the three-year fight to have residents removed from the neighborhood, returned for a walking tour of the area, where some 20,000 tons of toxic waste were buried.
Families that moved into this same neighborhood, who were told that is was safe, say that they are suffering from major health disorders, like the family of Keith Boos.
Boos said, “The air my family breathes every day is contaminated and life threatening. My family has been affected by the contaminants in our home emotionally, physically and mentally.”
Gibbs said, “We said it so many times, ‘don’t bring people back here. Just don’t bring them back here.’ And they did. And they bamboozled them into believing it was safe, and gave them the data, and God knows what else these folks got, and they innocently went in and bought what I bought 35 years ago, the American dream.”
There is a $113 million lawsuit filed, claiming that Love Canal may be leaking and harming people in the area.
The site had been used between 1947 and 1952 as a dumping ground for toxic waste by Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corporation. The land was later sold to the Niagara Falls School District. The waste began to bubble out of the ground in a school playground and in the yard and basements of local homes after heavy rains.
In August 2012, News 4 spoke to the children of Love Canal who are battling illnesses they have no doubt were brought on by the chemical disaster under their feet.
In 2009 Gibbs was in town promoting her book titled, "Achieving the Impossible - Stories of Courage,Caring and Community."
A Town of Tonawanda restaurant owner has been arrested and charged with strangulation and assault.
Investigators have pieced together who is responsible for dumping a dog on the side of the road inside a zipped up Coors Light thermal bag.
State Police need your help finding the pickup truck driver who pinned a mother against her vehicle as she was loading her baby and young son into it and then fled the scene.
The Cattraugus County Sheriff’s Office says a 17-year-old male from East Otto was arrested on Monday evening.
The Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel will unveil improvements to their gaming floor on Wednesday. The casino spent $26 million into the main gaming floor.
The Mounted Patrol from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department is kicking off its annual Mounted for Meals food drive.