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Rolling Stones: uncovering the story behind brine

Rolling Stone has released an article highlighting the dangers of brine, a radioactive naturally occurring byproduct of oil and gas drilling. Workers and communities for decades have been exposed to brine through truck transports, on roads as a de-icer or products in hardware stores without having complete information on its radioactive nature.  Read More.
 

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Frantic parents fear for kids after radioactive contamination found at Ohio middle school

Ashley Day has always worried about the health risks of living a few miles from a defunct nuclear power plant in Piketon, Ohio. So, … <read more>

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Homepage Water News

Investigation: Clorox Selling Pool Salt Made From Fracking Wastewater

Public Herald has discovered that Eureka Resources, a company based in Pennsylvania, has been treating wastewater from shale gas development — a.k.a. “fracking” — and packaging the crystal byproduct as “Clorox Pool Salt” for distribution since 2017.
Read More.

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Water News

Is Nuclear Neighbor Polluting Our Water?

Pollution tied to infant deaths and cancer in adults has shown up for decades in the groundwater beneath a nuclear fuel factory less than two miles from Michael Daugherty’s house.The uranium leak in Hopkins, South Carolina occurred in June. It was reported to state and federal authorities on July 12, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Mildred Myers, a Gadsden resident, said she is glad DHEC is investigating, but that she always has been worried about the Westinghouse plant. The recent spill only reinforces her concerns, said Myers, a founder of the Lower Richland community group, S.C. Environment Watch.

“They always say they have got it under control and they are doing this or that. But they really have not done anything yet that is very efficient at cleaning things up,’’ Myers said. “So many things have occurred and things have not really gotten better.’’  Read more.

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Just Moms Plead For Relocation Away From Superfund Site

Dawn Chapman, Just Moms STL,  had listened with surprise and skepticism as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency vowed to clean up West Lake, the nuclear waste dump that has filled her days and nights with worry.
Read full article.
 
 
 
 

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Backyard Talk

Just Moms STL Continue to Fight for Their Community

By: Katie O’Brien

The community surrounding West Lake Landfill near St. Louis, MO has been fighting for their lives. CHEJ has been working with the grassroots group Just Moms STL for over a year to help train them to organize their neighbors to join them in their fight to regain their health.

An underground fire is burning approximately one thousand feet from 50,000 tons of illegally dumped radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project, which experts estimate can reach the waste in as little three to six months. The fire has been burning for five years, sending smoke and soot into the streets and homes of the surrounding areas. Residents believe this toxic smoke has been causing an upsurge in health problems such as lupus and cancer, and the state health department defined the area to have a much higher than expected childhood cancer rate.  Children cannot play in their yards because the air is so toxic it causes nosebleeds.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed West Lake Landfill as a Superfund site in 1990. Since then, the EPA has continuously mishandled clean up efforts and refuses to move families away from the hazardous site. Just Moms STL has been trying to meet with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for over a year to discuss the health problems that are affecting their children and to establish a plan, but they are constantly denied a meeting.

The St. Louis County Government put together an Emergency Operation Plan in case of a potential nuclear threat; stating its purpose is to reduce or prevent the loss of lives within the county.  The plan states the catastrophic event will occur with little or no warning at all. Residents will be urged to shelter in place until the county can properly set up evacuation points. Just Moms STL continues to fight for their communities and the relocation of their families.

Sign the petition to help Just Moms STL get their families relocated!

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St. Louis Moms Call On Obama For Help

Anger builds at EPA over radioactive landfill.  “We believe that it would be within the power of the president to issue an executive order to clean up the bureaucratic administrative mess at West Lake Landfill, put one government agency in charge, said Ed Smith.”  Matt LaVanchy, a local fire department official, told radio station KTRS that he believes the fire could be less than 1,000 feet from the radioactive material, and is trying to train firefighters for possible outcomes.
CHEJ has been working with this community for years and agrees that it is time Obama steps in and commands action. EPA refuses to . . . Republic Service has failed nearly every step and people are dying. Time to take the site out of the hands of the incompetent and move the families down wind of the site. Read more here.

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Backyard Talk

I’m Dying of Cancer … It Was Preventable

Mary has terminal lung cancer. She never smoked. But what she did do is walk around the local park every morning 24 laps. She believed that she was doing a good thing for her health, getting exercise and fresh air.

Unfortunately, the park that she walked daily was found to be contaminated with radioactive materials. It’s all part of the St. Louis historical work on the Manhattan Project. Mary attended the local meeting this past week about the cleanup of the radioactive wastes. Officials told her that they were not going to close the park that she once walked around daily because the children are back in school. The children, they believe wouldn’t spend much time in the park because of school so they didn’t need to take any  action.

Outraged that no one would close the park, the park she believed was the root cause of her now death sentence, Mary decided to do something about it.  Mary stood in front of the park with a sign that asked people to ask her why she was there, so she could tell them her story. How her grandson will never really know his Nana because she will be gone before they can do much together.

Today the park that Mary once walked laps around  is closed, because Mary wouldn’t leave the entrance with her yellow sign “Park Closed,”  until it was officially closed to innocent children and families. Thank you Mary.

The unfortunate truth is that it took a victim of radioactive exposure, a mother and grandmother to take a stand and protect the innocent from known harm. Where are our health protectors?  Where are the local, state and more importantly federal health authorities that have jurisdiction  and decision making powers when such decisions are needed. Who are they afraid of?

I’m am so tired of the federal government who has investigated and defined the cleanup and testing of this site and so many other sites, turn their heads when it comes to making a decision about protecting the public health. This is not the case when the public is placed at risk from food poisoning or a drug that proved to be more harmful than thought. Why are people exposed to radioactive wastes or toxic wastes the abandoned child? Why is there No Protection or Unequal Protection under government authorities when it comes to working class or low wealth families?

Time and time again we at CHEJ have seen that families are ignored when it comes to the real life threat of exposures to materials that will cause cancer and other diseases. It is well past time that the health professionals who took an oath “to do know harm” to step up to the plate and protect innocent families in the same manner, in the same time frame, as they do families exposed to food related or drug related health impacts.

To hear Mary speak to this issue you can connect to the Youtube video and begin at 1:59, but be sure to have a box of tissues handy to wipe your eyes because the personal testimony is very powerful and sad.

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St. Louis burning: Atomic Legacy Haunts City

by Ryan Schuessler @RyanSchuessler1 April 29, 2015 5:00AM ET
Karen Nickel had never even heard of lupus before she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease six years ago. Today she says she takes as many as 18 pills a day — “and that’s just to make me feel OK.”
Read part one of three part series.

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Backyard Talk

Radioactive Guinea Pigs

“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace,” said Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Executive Director Jeff Ruch,  This week, the White House approved a radical radiation cleanup rollback that will threaten people near radioactive accidents. Cancer deaths are expected to skyrocket after radiological accidents with the harmful new “cleanup” standard.

“The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

 Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:

 In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;  In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.

Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.” “No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”

 Reportedly, the PAGs had been approved last fall but their publication was held until after the presidential election. The rationale for timing their release right before McCarthy’s confirmation hearing is unclear. Since the PAGs guide agency decision-making and do not formally set standards or repeal statutory requirements, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund, they will go into full effect following a short public comment period. Nonetheless, the PAGs will likely determine what actions take place on the ground in the days, weeks, months and, in some cases, years following a radiological emergency. “

 For more information, go to http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2013/04/08/white-house-approves-radical-radiation-cleanup-rollback/