Superfund - Superfund The impacts of hazardous waste on...

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Superfund
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The impacts of hazardous waste on public health spawned awareness across the country, but it all happened too late. It began in a small town in upstate New York in the 1920’s. A chemical company titled Hooker decided to use a piece of land to create a municipal and industrial dumpsite for toxic chemicals containing nitrous oxide and benzene in addition to other deadly agents. Once Hooker Chemical Company had no more use for the land, its personnel covered the toxic chemical waste with a thick layer of dirt. The land was sold in the early 1950’s and turned into a town called Love Canal. Hundreds of houses in addition to a school were built on the land, and up until the late 1970’s, Love Canal seemed like the perfect, small community (Beck 1979). In 1978, rainfall runoff caused the toxic chemicals to begin seeping into homes and yards, burning the flesh of children, sickening adults and eventually causing birth defects for unborn children. The people of Love Canal were forced to relocate; forced to leave everything they had worked for over the past twenty-five years. The community of Love Canal created tons of media coverage, and soon, a whole nation was horrified and appalled. Love Canal brought attention to an ignored issue at the time: the cleanup of toxic waste dumps (Beck 1979). In response to the tragedy of Love Canal and other toxic waste dump crises, the federal government passed superfund under the Comprehensive Environmental, Compensation, and Liability Act with the intent of cleaning up all toxic waste sites that had been abandoned or could not be taken care of by responsible companies (Basic information 2007). Superfund was amended in 1986 under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act after a 6 year period of disappointing implementation (SARA overview 2007). Currently, Superfund has 10 regional offices around the country
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responsible for long-term action as well as agencies put in place to enforce Superfund and its amendments in both the short and long-run. At the present time over 1,282 sites are under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (Environmental Protection Agency 2007). The EPA has pledged $580.7 million to the cleanup in addition to gaining more involvement from the states and communities. It enforces a “polluter pays” law in which responsible parties for the toxic sites are forced to pay for the damage caused, even if at the time, their actions were warranted and legal (Environmental Protection Agency 2007). The EPA is committing itself to public health. The EPA is also taking preventative measures to ensure public health safety through activities such as controlling ground water and other direct ways communities could potentially be harmed by the toxic chemicals (About EPA 2007). The sites, in which the EPA has yet to decontaminate, are being carefully managed and recorded on the National Priorities List, which identifies the sites and determines how high a priority the site is for cleanup (Basic information:
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Superfund - Superfund The impacts of hazardous waste on...

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