It’s a statistical anomaly to say the least. More than 2,500 reported cases of cancer, autoimmune diseases and birth defects are plaguing North St. Louis County. Residents of the communities that border the 15-mile tributary to the Missouri River, known as Coldwater Creek, are suffering and they deserve answers.
St. Louis’ Cancer Cluster Area
Coldwater Creek runs through neighborhoods and recreational areas in Missouri, including Bridgeton, Hazelwood, Florissant, Black Jack, Berkeley, Ferguson, Spanish Lake and St. Ann. The map below, documented in 2012, indicates data relating to nuclear exposure and serious illnesses.
Probable Cause of Coldwater Creek Cancer Cluster
Investigations are currently underway to determine if irresponsible handling of wartime radioactive waste may be the cause of higher than average rates of serious health problems in the area.
In the 1940s, Mallinckrodt Chemical Works in St. Louis was contracted for the famous Manhattan Project, a secretly signed plan to enrich uranium for the world’s first controlled nuclear chain reaction. The company refined uranium at its downtown site for 15 years, disposing tons and tons of hazardous waste at sites located near the airport.
It has become very clear that serious precautions were not taken to avoid peripheral contamination to nearby soils and water sources. Toxins inevitably seeped into the waters of the creek. When the creek flooded, the poisonous water would drain into families’ gardens and leak into basements. It is also highly probable that thorium dust was blown by the wind off the piles of waste and breathed by children living in the area.
For a good part of seven decades, authorities neglected to address the seriousness of the issue. The government has recently made some efforts to clean up remaining waste, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicates that there is still more testing and removal to be done.
Coldwater Creek Cancer Cluster Awareness and Advocacy
Unfortunately, even if every ounce of radioactive waste could be cleaned up now, history has already set a tragic track in place. A long latency period following exposure to ionizing radiation is coming to an end. People who grew up playing in and around Coldwater Creek from the 1940s through the 1980s are suddenly seeing an alarming spike in the presentation of symptoms of abnormal diseases, often with fatal outcomes.
A Facebook group called “Coldwater Creek—Just the Facts Please” was created by a graduate of McCluer North in 2011 after many young North County residents started becoming very sick or dying. The group now has more than 7,200 members and the heartbreaking stories of illness and death are staggering.
These members are only a microcosm of the larger population of residents that were likely affected by the nuclear legacy in North St. Louis County. It is important to spread awareness of health concerns and encourage victims to seek justice.
Do you know anyone with a serious diagnosis who may have been exposed to the radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek? If so, please urge them to contact Lieser Law Firm for a consultation.