Radiation survivors receive government help

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A group of classmates, who are losing friends every day to radiation at Cold Water Creek, are getting the news they've been fighting for after three years.

The state of Missouri is asking the Federal Government for help.

The state wants the Centers for Disease Control, The Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers to send money and specialized resources to the survivors and people dying from radiation.

Carl Chappell's 43-year-old son has appendix cancer. The cancer effects about one in a million, but it's showing up in many of Chappell's son's high school classmates. Chappell's son used to play in the contributory of Coldwater Creek, near his Florissant home.

Radioactive materials from barrels of uranium from Mallinckrodt's Storage Facilities started seeping into Cold Water Creek. The uranium was used to make the first atomic bombs.

Janell Wright, a former McCluer Graduate, wanted to know why so many of her classmates were getting rare cancers. She and other classmates asked the state to test study the area. The results showed no elevated levels of cancer. Wright knew the study was flawed.

Wright and her friends asked the head of the ST. Louis County Health Department, Dr Dolores Gunn, and her deputy, Dr. Faisal Khan, to help. Gunn and Khan gave the state more zip codes and a different way to test the cancers. This time the results were different.

"They showed elevated levels of leukemia in adults and brain cancer in children between 1996-2011 in zip codes in and around Cold Water Creek area," Dr. Khan said.

Khan said the cancers could be attributed to exposure to radiation.

The county is now expanding its research and study in North County, and into other diseases possibly caused by radiation. It's the only county in the state putting effort in the research. It could set a precedent for other communities like Westlake.

Chappell is hoping the federal government will get involved. His son is still living with appendix cancer, but his father, a Mallinckrodt employee for years with a direct radiation exposure, died from renal cancer.

Chappell wants Cold Water Creek to stop taking any more lives.


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