Natural and Man-Made Disasters
What impact did Love Canal have?
The effect of the crisis was felt on many levels: by area residents whose lives were forever changed by the hazards, by residents nearby Love Canal who feared for their own safety, by Americans across the country who lived near other chemical waste sites, and by Americans for whom Love Canal had become synonymous with the problems posed by hazardous waste.
At the government level, the tragic events at Love Canal helped to speed the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. Also known as the Superfund, the legislation set up a multibillion-dollar fund to clean up the nation’s worst toxic disasters. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assigned clean-up priority to some 1,200 abandoned and potentially contaminated waste sites.
Along with the chemical plant explosion at Bhopal, India, in 1984, Love Canal also contributed to a “community-right-to-know” provision, which was part of the 1985 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act. The new legislation gave all citizens the right to know what chemicals are produced, stored, or buried in their neighborhoods.