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Love Canal is a neighborhood in the city of Niagara Falls, N.Y. that in the 1970s became a symbol of environmental catastrophe. In the 1940s, a chemical company bought and converted the canal there into a toxic waste dump. Later, a school was built on top of the old landfill, and homes were built nearby, exposing kids and residents to chemical pollution that even seeped into people’s basements.

It was the first time a man-made disaster was declared a federal health emergency. This year is the 40th anniversary of President Jimmy Carter making that declaration. WBFO’s Nick Lippa produced an audio postcard with remembrances from Love Canal evacuees Luella Kenny and former TV reporter Dick Lucinski.

LISTEN: “Remembering the ‘Slow-Motion Disaster’ That Was Love Canal”

Luella Kenny stands in front of the house she was forced to evacuate after the disaster. She believes the toxic chemicals in her yard led to the death of her 7-year-old son. Photo: Nick Lippa