Posted: Nov 15, 2012 8:54 PM by Mike Manzoni -- email@example.com
Updated: Nov 16, 2012 2:11 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- Residents of a neighborhood near the country's largest refinery plant met Thursday with a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated activist to share their concerns about the toxins they said are affecting their health.
Lois Gibbs, whose neighborhood in a section of Niagara Falls, N.Y., called Love Canal was devastated in 1978 after toxic chemicals began leaking into homes, went from stay-at-home mother to nationally-recognized activist. She spearheaded efforts that led to the evacuation of more than 800 families in the area, and helped pressure federal leaders to fund a cleanup program.
Gibbs met with residents of the Hillcrest area because they have long said they have similar issues. She urged them to organize a grassroots campaign and be persistent with local and state leaders.
"What's happening in this neighborhood is really outrageous," Gibbs said. "I mean, you can smell this stuff, you can taste it on the roof of your mouth." Gibbs said Hillcrest is "...definitely worse than Love Canal," because houses in the area are so close to the refineries.
In 2008, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality detected Benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, in blood samples from Hillcrest residents. Since then, they have been monitoring soil and groundwater samples for harmful chemicals, but have not found any.
Jean Salone, who has lived in the Hillcrest area since 1962, said she has been a victim of the toxins emitted from the refineries.
"I've been sick. I've had cancer," said Salone. "My Neighbor had a child that came out handicapped."
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