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October 31, 2015

St Louis Radiation Poisoning Death Toll Revealed


Photo above: Thousands of barrels filled with radioactive waste dumped in St Louis.

By Deborah Dupre - All News Pipeline

St Louis residents dying in record numbers is sending locals fleeing, becoming refugees from a sacrifice zone, secretly kept for decades. A cover up was effective until community action resulted in reports explaining the myriad of local "environmental diseases" causing violent deaths was from ingesting and eating radioactive material in their homes and community, linking the horror to the United States war machine's nuclear weapon system.

An underground fire heads toward a nuclear waste facility. A bush fire burned nearby. A waste spill has sent a new wave of radioactive waste into groundwater. An alleged arson recently set seven churches on fire prompting DHS to issue statements about domestic terrorism linked to nuclear facilities. Those events have had eyes are on St. Louis, where today, news headlines include St. Louis residents and former residents who fled connected the dots between what has been killing babies and adults there to area radioactive waste.

You’ll never forget the moment they tell you, ‘We found lesions on your lung and your liver,’” Mary Oscko, who has stage 4 lung cancer, told CBS News. “My husband and I had to sit down at night and discuss whether I want to be cremated or buried. I don’t want to be buried in North County. That’s the one thing I told him. I do not want to be buried where this soil is.”

Popular Resistance

"In 1942, during the height of World War II, a corporation by the name of Mallinckrodt Chemical Works was hired by the US government to process uranium for the development of the world’s first nuclear weapons. The operation was dubbed ‘The Manhattan Project.’

"Based in St Louis, it was here that the atomic bomb was born. That same bomb would be responsible for destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, at the end of the Second World War. Those two bombs killed at least 150,000 people by the end of that year (without taking into account long term radiation damage). It was powerful, deadly stuff."

As Americans honor their war-dead and war-injured dying, few count as collateral damage their neighbors who died horrendous deaths from radiation poisoning the government left in their region, to continue killing. This is the hard truth St. Louis residents face today after a report was released linking a myriad of terminal illnesses in the area to radioactive waste buried in their backyards.

“The uranium was owned by the US government and the Department of Energy. This is their mess,” former resident Kim Visintine told

A 1990 article in the New York Times revealed that the Manhatten Project involved secretly dumping toxic waste, with federal government approval. By mid-1940s, Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, the contracted to store the deadly radioactive waste, had run out of space, so in 1946 they began shipping leftovers to an area north of St Louis, next to Coldwater Creek, where people fished and children played. Approximately 250,000 barrels of radioactive material were dumped there into shallow pits, exposed to the elements.

Where waste spilled from trucks transporting the deadly material, the Energy Department found radiation levels exceeding seven times the "normal amount".

“The concerns disappeared after the Government and Mallinckrodt said the wastes were ‘not radioactive or otherwise dangerous’, the Times reported.

"In the 1950s and ‘60s, a residential boom hit the area and the city began to expand, so a decision was made to reroute Coldwater Creek to make it more aesthetic. Little did residents know at the time that by dredging and disturbing the creek, it gave the contaminated sediment a mode of transportation, and soon it began to spread throughout the area. Unknowingly, people began ingesting and eating the leftover carcinogens." (Popular Resistance)

Very low doses of ingested radiation builds in the body, called bio-accumulation. Once in the body, it never leaves -- like arsenic poisoning -- the same happening to Gulf Coast residents from BP's oil catastrophe (Vampire of Macondo, Duprevent Printing, 2012), the same that's been happening in the south from fossil fuel industry, and the same happening to Americans in fracked communities. In St Louis, however, the bio-accumulation has been occurring decades. Male sperms carry the poison, as well as women.

"It’s not one ingestion. It’s over and over. Then it mutates and you end up with these cancers," Visintine said. “We’re showing up with these really rare cancers, and really high rates at really young ages.”

On Facebook in 2011, community residents began reconnecting and noticing unexplained high incidences of rare cancers.“It was like this overwhelming response. When we started realizing we were all sick we thought, ‘this is statistically not right, there’s an issue’,” said Visintine. Jeff Armstead decided to create a group and map to pinpoint the phenomenon.

“We hand wrote the first 750 cases of cancer but we had no idea how big this was. After that, we started getting thousands of reports,” Ms Visintine explained.

The Facebook page grew to over 2700 residents reporting rare diseases, showing a cancer cluster of epic proportions: 45 cases of appendix cancer, 184 cases of brain cancer, 315 cases of thyroid cancer, 448 cases of auto-immune disease, and so on.

“The situation here is one of the most graphic illustrations of the enduring costs paid by an American community for its participation in the cold war,” read the New York Times.

Visintine as a child had eaten vegetables full of radiation from her backyard vegetable garden. Children ate ice cream from the huge dairy farms in the area, unaware the cows grazed on contaminated fields. Children sucked honey from backyard fence honeysuckle vines; played in the creek, bathing in poison.  The old neighborhood park is now padlocked. Construction crews are removing radioactive waste discovered beneath the topsoil.

“What you see is an environmental health disaster unfolding slowly over decades,” County health director Dr. Faisal Kahn told CBS.   “The rates of appendix cancer, for instance, which is relatively rare — we see about 800 cases across the nation per year. To find seven or eight cases in one zip code or one small geographic area is rather unusual.”  

Map showing amount of reported illnesses in North St. Louis County. Source: Supplied

"It gets worse," Popular Resistance says.   In June, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it found more radioactive soil in various areas, including backyards and a public park. After 17 years excavating and cleaning up the poisons of Coldwater Creek, the problems remain and possibly will remain for generations.  

“This is the oldest radioactive waste of the atomic age, and there still is no safe place to put the stuff,” said Kay Drey in 1990, a nuclear opponent who provided technical assistance to several suburban leaders.  

No surprise, considering the clean up isn't even one-third complete. Visintine said they’re expected to be cleaning until at least 2020.  

“Our main goal is to make sure we can protect human health and the environment,” Army Corps’ Mike Petersen told  

“What we’re dealing with is generally a low level contamination but it does pose a long term threat and that’s what we stay focused on. In the near term, it’s low risk. We’ve told them [residents] don’t dig, we’re going to come out and restore the ground with clean fill soil."

That's little relief to Ms. Visintine, who lost her son to a brain tumor.

“When my son passed away he had respiratory failure as a result from brain cancer. We’re passing it on to our children. We have entire streets where the families have gotten sick.” 

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