Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (University-City) says the state and federal governments have done nothing about the radioactive waste at St. Louis area landfills.
“For us as a state to do nothing at all is immoral and irresponsible, but mostly immoral because there are people who are dying. I wasn’t raised to turn my back on people,” said Chappelle-Nadal. “This is the combination of a civil action Erin Brockovich and Flint Michigan put all into one because people are literally living on top of radioactive waste and possibly drinking.”
She’s hosting a presentation Monday at the capitol about radioactive waste at the Bridgeton landfill.
About 100,000 tons of WW II era nuclear weapons waste are stored in the West Lake landfill. In 2014, the EPA determined the presence of radioactive elements from that landfill further south than anticipated — 100 feet inside the borders of the Bridgeton landfill. An underground fire has been burning at the Bridgeton landfill since at least 2010. That fire could soon meet the radioactive material lingering nearby. Residents of Bridgeton and nearby Coldwater Creek have been complaining for a few years about the fire’s fumes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversees the radioactive material in the West Lake Landfill. It insists that the waste does not pose a risk to the public, but the EPA has ordered fire prevention measures to be taken and a schedule of getting rid of the radioactive material to be developed by all parties involved.
“We have landfills everywhere in St. Louis County and none of them have been tested adequately for uranium or thorium,” said Chappelle-Nadal. “There are children who are dying. I have children who don’t have eyeballs. I have children who have double sets of teeth. I have children who have brain cancer. I have children with alopecia. It goes on and on and once you’re impacted, your DNA mutates. That means the next generation of people also die.”
Chappelle-Nadal says 60 of appendix cancer have been reported among a population of 120,000 people in north St. Louis. She says there should only be one case of appendix cancer for every one million people.
Monday’s presentation will be at 2 p.m. in Senate Committee Room 1.