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UB researchers to focus on toxic threats at Lockport environmental meeting Saturday

LOCKPORT – Taking advantage of an overflow crowd for last week’s showing of a movie about the pollution of Eighteen Mile Creek, some researchers from the University at Buffalo are seeking a large turnout of Lockport residents Saturday for a meeting about perceived toxic threats in Lockport.

The session is set for 2 to 4 p.m. at the Niagara County Historical Society, 215 Niagara St. Its purpose is to compile information about reports of diseases and the proximity of the people who had those diseases to the creek or to any other toxic hot spots that may exist. Those attending Saturday’s meeting will be asked to fill out an anonymous survey, asking about their environmental concerns and their personal and family health history.

“We want to know if you or anyone you know had diagnoses that may be related to contamination,” said Sarah Glann, a doctoral candidate in sociology at UB.

She is being assisted by two UB chemistry professors, Joseph A. Gardella Jr. and Tammy M. Milillo.

“My family bought a house next to a toxic waste dump. Two of them had diseases, and now I’m battling a condition,” said Milillo, who has been compiling “Mapping Waste,” a project pinpointing all hazardous sites in Niagara, Erie and Cattaraugus counties. The maps are to be compared with reports of locations of clusters of disease to try to convince government agencies that action is needed.

The announcement of the coming meeting was made after about 200 people crowded into the Kenan Center’s Taylor Theater to see Tanya Stadelmann’s “This Creek.” The film details the history of Eighteen Mile Creek from Lockport to Newfane as a federal Superfund site,, including the cleanup and demolition of the old Flintkote plant.

The crowd filled every seat and sat in the aisles. Stadelmann, a student seeking a master’s degree in fine arts at UB, said she was “bowled over” by the attendance for her 33-minute film, which she spent two years producing as a master’s thesis.