8 months ago

History behind the EPA levels of protection.

The EPA levels of protection are the the basis for the design of chemical protective garments.

Today we’re going to talk about the History behind the EPA levels of protection. In the late 1800’s, Mr. William Love wanted to build a canal around Niagara Falls. He worked on this canal for several years but due to financial reasons it was abandoned. In the 1920’s, the city of Niagara decided to use the old canal as a landfill. The Hooker Chemical Company was also allowed to place hazardous waste in the canal. A few years later, Hooker Chemical took over the site and used it for several more years as a waste depository. In the 1953 Hooker Chemical sold the land to the Niagara Falls School Board for $1.

They developed neighborhoods there and eventually built a school on the site. Few people knew this site was terribly contaminated with many hazardous compounds. Through the 1950’s and in to the 1960’s, many incidents of birth defects, miscarriages, and various other illnesses occurred in the area around Love Canal. 

It was not until the late 1970’s when investigative reporters from a local TV station began to make this issue more public. Our government, who saw what was going on at Love Canal said in their wisdom, “Oh, I wonder if there are any other sites like this around the country?” Sure enough, there were.

Our Congress created the Superfund Act, which was designed to provide funding for the clean up of these various waste dumps around the country, and originally there were about 50 sites identified. Ultimately, there were many more contaminated sites discovered. The Environmental Protection Agency realized when they went in to clean up these sites, they had to provide guidance to the workers on the type of chemical protective garments they should be wearing.

This eventually resulted in the EPA levels of protection that we use today as the basis for the design of chemical protective garments.

I can typically tell how old someone is if they can answer the question, “Where is Love Canal?” There were many other examples like Love Canal that caused our country to take notice and realized we had to clean up our environment.