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Can We Talk About Radioactive Waste in St. Louis?

home sweet home

It’s not often that I write about matters close to home because a) half of you live in Australia and the United Kingdom, and b) this blog is about gluten free baking. I realize we face a plethora of pressing issues. But, in case a handful of St. Louis readers may not be aware of a situation here –

There’s A LOT of activity around the St. Louis Airport. I’m not talking about planes. North County is overflowing with radioactive waste.

When I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer last year, the surgeon asked if I’d been exposed to radiation growing up. I didn’t think so. Wrong. I mentioned this to my sister-in-law, who is also a long-time area resident treated for cancer. She told me about the radioactive waste near Lambert Airport and how Coldwater Creek had been contaminated.

Luckily, my cancer was treated early and I am doing well. Many people in the area have not been so fortunate. Young people have developed cancer in alarming numbers and appendix cancer (which is quite rare) has occurred at an astounding rate in North County.

I learned this after attending a Town Hall conducted by Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal. Spoiler alert: Turns out North County isn’t the only St. Louis area affected by this radioactive waste. Another takeaway – a slow burning fire has been smoldering beneath the surface of an adjacent landfill, coming within 600 feet of the radioactive waste in West Lake Landfill.

Though North County’s radioactive waste problem has been addressed in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times many years ago, I’m surprised this story isn’t more widely covered. I was impressed with Sen. Chappelle-Nadal’s knowledge surrounding the history of this contamination and how clearly she articulated all of the ramifications. Here’s hoping her message can get out to more people, including local leaders.

Because ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away.

Remaining 2016 Town Hall Meetings

Tuesday, December 13, 6pm Lucas Crossing Elementary School, 7837 Natural Bridge Road, Normandy, MO

Wednesday, December 14, 6pm Pershing Elementary School, 6761 Bartmer Avenue, University City, MO

Thursday, December 15, 6pm Jennings High School, 8850 Cozens Avenue, Jennings, MO


Wastelands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy. The Wall Street Journal: http://projects.wsj.com/waste-lands/site/437-st-louis-airport/

A Legacy of Environmental Health Concerns in St. Louis: https://publichealth.wustl.edu/the-manhattan-project-a-legacy-of-environmental-health-concerns-in-st-louis/

St. Louis Public Radio interview, November 2016: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/politically-speaking-sen-chappelle-nadal-radioactive-waste-education-policy-and-her-legacy#stream/0

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley – from 3 Part Series: 7 More Nuclear Waste Hot Spots Found in North St. Louis County Missouri Suburb: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/seven-more-nuclear-waste-hot-spots-found-in-north-st-louis-county-missouri-suburb/

Additional background stories can be found at Coldwater Creek Facts: http://www.coldwatercreekfacts.com/news/

Radioactive Waste Town Hall Meetings STL


  1. It’s a sad, sad situation & common all over the US… from ordinary streams, ponds, etc. to military bases w/contaminated water.

    I am also the victim of poisoned water via the military when we lived on base & my mom was pregnant with me.

    I have found that it is COMMON & COVERED UP! When it is FINALLY exposed, in the case of Camp Lejeune, the government just makes laws up to protect itself from any liability by pushing the burden of responsibility onto the VICTIMS!

    A 30 YEAR contamination (1957-87), over 80 (yes over EIGHTY!!) known solvents, toxins, etc. in the water, & it only started coming out in 2008!! So what did they do?! They passed a law that stated people had to file a claim within 10 YEARS of the poisoning, even though nobody knew then!! It didn’t even start to come out into the light for 19 years after the last year it was taking place… many people still do NOT know. Approximately 1,000,000 people were affected & afflicted yet to do NOT even know.. and NOBODY is liable?!?

    There were SO many babies being born on military bases they needed MASS GRAVES to bury the babies in. Parents were not given a single plot for their dead child, but told they could visit their child’s body in the MASS GRAVE as they couldn’t even keep up with the death rate, both of stillborn babies & those dying shortly after birth, so they were dumped in MASS GRAVES!!

    After knowing what I do about Camp Lejeune, my eyes are WIDE OPEN! I am NOT surprised about water contamination anywhere at this point, nor at the fact that NOBODY is ever held responsible! Such a tragedy & travesty of justice!

    Good for you trying to be a platform to get the info out!

  2. Linda, thank you. Hope we can forewarn Australians as the govt. wants to open waste dumps in Queensland where I live and/or in South Australia, not just for local medical waste but also for international medical and otherwise. Indigenous people are against it as well.

  3. Sadly, in Australia, there is contamination of ground water near an army base at Oakey. One man never drank the water but bathed in it and absorbed the toxins transdermally, hence, serious cancer. The victim is stressed to prove his plight.