“This place is disease. It takes your heart away; it takes your spirit away. And something’s got to end. Somebody has got to help us because there are people stranded here. My kids are stranded here. Somebody from the outside has got to come and save us.”
–-Bob Terry a local resident pleading to the United Nations for help in his testimony
May 3, 2016 — This afternoon Dawn Chapman, Karen Nickel, from Just Moms StL in St. Louis, Missouri, Lois Gibbs, Center for Health, Environment & Justice delivered a request on behalf of American families living in harm’s way of a Chernobyl like event to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr. John Knox. Ms. Nicole Bjerler, Mr. Knox’s colleague will be meeting with the Just Moms STL delegation to accept the Tribunal Summary Documents, Complaint and Transcript as he is currently in Switzerland.
The community has exhausted every possible government and non-governmental option for relief within the United States leaving the United Nations as the next level of authority.
Community has asked the state to act but only have been informed of the pending crisis of a “Chernobyl like event,” (Attorney General, MO). The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has done little since 1990 and done little to date to stop the fire from reaching the radioactive wastes. State and federal legislators have introduced a federal bill that would transfer the cleanup from USEPA to the Corps of Engineers because of no confidence in US EPA. The bill passed the Senate and is in the house committee being queried. This bill does nothing to relieve the daily exposures and urgent need to get out of the area before an explosion or other disastrous event.
- On a daily basis flares around the Bridgeton landfill, which is burning beneath the surface, release chemicals that are toxic to human health at levels above permitted health based standards. These chemicals travel through the air and into the surrounding community. Children waiting at bus stops and playing outside must breathe this toxic air.
- Although there is cover over the burning landfill, however when materials below the surface burn and reduce in size, the cover material collapses causing a rupture in the cover material. This results in smoke containing toxic chemicals to be released into the air of the surrounding community. Smoke at times is so thick that it is difficult to maneuver an automobile due to visibility and travels across the street blanketing adjacent homes and playground.
- The entire site which was designated a U.S. federal Superfund site in 1990. Yet the USEPA has failed to complete mapping of the site to define where the buried radioactive waste is located. After more than two decades no one understands where the radioactive wastes are.
- Children are suffering and dying from cancer at an alarming rate. State health studies have clearly documented increased childhood brain cancer risks in nearby neighborhoods. Today the number of children with brain cancer is over 300 times what would be expected.
- Public schools are concerned about an event which will cause students and school employees to remain in a “shelter in place” situation for a long period of time. Parents were asked to bring to school a supply of medications that children take before and after school in the event they cannot go home. This is an unacceptable situation especially for preschool children ages 3 to 4 to be without their parents overnight.
- Families with members that are vulnerable to respiratory impacts are at risk daily. Windows must remain closed year round. Outdoor activities such as yard work, home repairs and organized sports are near impossible. Quality of life standards are negatively impacted as a result of not being able to sit outdoors, decorate for holidays or enjoy a child’s sporting event.
- Lastly, tucking your child into bed at night or sending them to school in the morning and not knowing if an event will occur that day, as a result of the fire reaching the radioactive wastes.