chapter  7
22 Pages

Threats to People and What They Value: Residents’ Perceptions of the Hazards of Love Canal

WithAdeline G. Levine, Russell A. Stone

The social consequences of hazardous waste disposal at Love Canal provide a landmark example of a new sort of human problem emerging from development in industrial societies. This chapter focuses on Love Canal residents' perceptions of the problems they were facing, and the changes in their own lives from the time the crisis began for them. It focuses on some of the respondents’ perceptions of how the Love Canal situation was affecting them and their families in the autumn of 1978 and the spring of 1979. Comparative findings from a study started in the spring of 1980 are mentioned where relevant. The chapter provides a detailed discussion on three aspects of the problems, health, homes and property, as well as effects on personal outlook and interpersonal relations. For the residents of Love Canal, living with “threats to people and what they value” meant living in a situation of overwhelming personal concern, and being subject to decisions that affected their life.