Three lawsuits allege exposure to radioactive waste the Mallinckrodt chemical company produced is the reason for the health issues. One lawsuit filed in April 2012 includes a group of 16 people from Hazelwood, Florissant, Spanish Lake and St. Ann.
According to the lawsuit, nuclear waste was dumped near Lambert Saint Louis International Airport and contaminated Coldwater Creek starting in the 1940s through the 1950s. The area is considered an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site.
Documents express the residents report contracting various breast, testicular, brain and pancreatic cancers, Crohn's disease and other autoimmune disorders.
The first suit was filed in February 2012 when North County residents had similar allegations of negligence that caused their illnesses.
Coldwater Creek and the North County Contaminated Sites
The Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) began in 1974 to identify, investigate and clean up or control sites through the United States that had became contaminated from the nation’s early atomic weapons and energy programs during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Activities were performed by the Manhattan Engineer District (The Manhattan Project), or under the Atomic Energy Commission, prior to the Department of Energy being formed.
As a part of these projects, the U.S. government contracted the Mallinckrodt Chemical Company to use its downtown facility to extract uranium from ore so it could be sent to other facilities. The extracted uranium was then sent to other facilities for enrichment. This occurred from 1942-1957. The program covers multiple sites in the St. Louis area both in St. Louis County and in St. Louis City.
The St. Louis Downtown Site, (SLDS) is the source of the radioactive material. This location is where Mallinckrodt processed uranium for the U.S. government nuclear weapons complex. It was a 45-acre active chemical manufacturing facility located just 300 feet west of the Mississippi River.
The nuclear weapons' waste materials were stockpiled at several sites in North St. Louis County including at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. This site became known as the St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS).
In the 1960s and 1970s, some of the waste material was sold to a private company, which transported the material to another location north of the SLAPS, and on Latty Avenue in the City of Hazelwood. This site became known as the Hazelwood Interim Storage Site (HISS).
Together, the North County FUSRAP site consists of the SLAPS, HISS and 78 vicinity properties known as SLAPS VPs. The U.S. Department of Energy was responsible for the remediation of the FUSRAP sites from the late 1970s until 1998. At that time the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) became the lead on the project.
There have been more than 100 vicinity properties surrounding the SLDS, the SLAP and the HISS that require additional investigation to determine if contamination exists at concentrations requiring remediation. According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the total estimated volume of contaminated soils, sediments and debris are approximately 1 million cubic yards.
Parts of Coldwater Creek are also a SLAPS Vicinity property. The creek has been affected by runoff from the FUSRAP sites. Coldwater Creek passes through several north St. Louis County communities including Florissant, Hazelwood, Black Jack and Spanish Lake. It was contaminated with uranium, thorium and radium.
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