Louis Gibbs established the Love Canal Homeowners Association in 1978. The LCHA was a community organized group of 500 families living within a 10-block radius of Love Canal. The group was created to protest the environmental injustice the community was suffering and fight for relocation for all residents to save their health, safety, and human rights.


The LCHA worked together to raise awareness and educate the community and public about their hazardous circumstances and need for immediate evacuation. They aimed to report the side effects and extreme health concerns their community faced due to the contaminants, march for the lives of their children who were exposed to toxic chemicals in their school rooms and basements, and fought for their human rights. Overall, they wanted the government to recognize the injustice they were suffering and grant them relocation. 

The organization was composed of the 500 families within 10 block radius of the canal and many other homeowners nearby. It was a community organized group led by Lois Gibbs, a mother whose child got sick early on and demanded that the Board of Education transfer her child to another public school. When they did not agree to transfer the child due to the fact that they would have to move all children, Lois established the group and gathered her community. It initially started as a collection of concerned parents and grew to represent the entire community of all race, class, gender, and ages. Children were involved in the protests for their rights as much as parents. Initially, the mothers that joined Lois were discriminated upon based on their gender and assumed intellectual capacity but as they garnered greater support and anger, they proved their efforts and case for relocation.


The organization had to fight against the New York State Health Department, the Hooker Chemical Corporation, and the state department. These opposing forces did not want to legitimize the health and safety concerns of residents and did not want to undertake the large financial endeavor of relocating families and covering their medical expenses. Instead, these groups wanted to remove residents at highest risk like pregnant women, children under two years old, and those in historically wet areas.

environmental justice, environmental health