NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)–A new lawsuit filed this week is alleging the City of Niagara Falls and several companies, including Occidental Chemical Corporation, are responsible for illnesses residents face as a result of dumping toxic substances around Love Canal and the surrounding area.
Attorneys representing these residents say their investigation shows just how much Occidental has polluted the City of Niagara Falls and those who live there.
They’re now seeking justice.
In a 72 page lawsuit, several attorneys representing 56 residents who currently live or previously resided in the city say Occidental Chemical Corporation was reckless and negligent, dumping toxic substances in and around the Love Canal neighborhood.
The lawsuit also alleges the company continues to spread toxins in the surrounding community.
They’re blaming Occidental, previously known as Hooker Chemical Company, for creating a public health catastrophe. Back in the 1940s, Hooker Chemical was responsible for using Love Canal as its dumpsite for many gallons of toxic waste, leading the city to seal the canal.
The lawsuit states “Chemicals have been and continue to be visible to the naked eye on area roads, sidewalks, and grass…..In addition to the illness and disease suffered by plaintiffs, the love canal community to this day presents the stigmata of widespread contamination.”
According to the lawsuit, residents suffer from several illnesses, including autoimmune diseases and cancer, all caused by toxins in the Love Canal area.
In a statement, one of the attorneys who filed this lawsuit, Melissa Stewart states “Occidental has polluted the community and exposed our clients to toxic substances…We continue to seek justice for our clients.”
OxyChem spokesperson Eric Moses shared this response to the lawsuit Tuesday night:
“In the nearly eight years since first filing suit, the Plaintiffs’ attorneys who brought these cases, alleging that the Love Canal landfill remedial system is not working as designed, have failed to substantiate this claim. Instead of withdrawing these baseless lawsuits, Plaintiffs’ attorneys are now seeking to add completely new and unrelated claims about OxyChem’s other Niagara Falls historic operations that are equally meritless. There is no credible evidence in these claims that OxyChem’s operations have caused these alleged injuries.OxyChem Spokesman Eric Moses
New York State health officials have continuously reviewed and monitored all of OxyChem sites, including Love Canal, have not raised any concerns over the operations or remedial activities. Further, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, since the 1980s, have conducted hundreds of site visits, analyzed decades of data and published dozens of annual reports, concluding that the facilities are operating as designed and within the terms of their permits.
OxyChem continues to be committed to the health and safety of the Niagara Falls community and will vigorously defend itself against these spurious claims.”