The Environmental Protection Agency created the Superfund program in 1980 to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated land and respond to environmental emergencies, oil spills, and natural disasters.
The goals of the Superfund are to protect the health of people and the environment by cleaning up contaminated sites; make those responsible pay for the cleanup work; get communities involved in the process; and return the sites to productive use. Cleaning up toxic waste is a hazardous business. Here are the most dangerous jobs in America.
24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Environmental Protection Agency to determine the most hazardous contaminated places and where they are.
As of Nov. 8, there were 1,335 Superfund sites in the United States and its territories. New Jersey, the nation’s fifth-smallest state, has the most Superfund sites with 114, a vestige of its heavy industrial past. North Dakota has no Superfund sites. The Superfund sites include previous manufacturing facilities, processing plants, mining sites, and landfills. These are the countries that produce the most waste.
The Superfund program was created following much-publicized stories about hazardous waste in the late 1970s — such as the notorious Love Canal disaster near Niagara Falls, New York, where toxic industrial waste bubbled up into backyards and cellars. Mining and the early days of the Industrial Revolution have left a toxic legacy that still needs to be remedied today.