May 25, 2011 13:28
The Love Canal environmental disaster at the Niagara Falls area of New York state in 1978 may be linked to the burial of toxic defoliants by the U.S. military in Korea, experts speculate. The Love Canal disaster, in which 21,000 tons of toxic chemicals were found buried in the area, coincides with the timing when large amounts of the defoliant Agent Orange were buried at Camp Carroll in southeastern Korea in 1978.
In the 1940s, an American chemical company called Hooker Chemical buried toxic chemicals, including dioxin, which is used to produce Agent Orange, in the Love Canal site which was turned into a chemical dumpsite after the construction was aborted, causing damage years down the line to students at a nearby school and residents in the area. After the scandal broke in 1978, the U.S. government designated the area as an environmental disaster zone and relocated 235 households and tore down homes and the school.
That incident may have prompted the U.S. government to dispose of toxic chemicals at U.S. military installations overseas instead.
Experts say the Agent Orange used by the U.S. military was in liquid rather than powder form and could end up contaminating soil or underground water supplies, prompting officials to rush to dispose of the toxic chemicals. It was also in 1978 that the damage from Agent Orange became known as Vietnam War veterans from the U.S. and Australia began to complain about side effects and file lawsuits against its manufacturers.
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