The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Radioactive Waste Discovered Near Missouri Elementary School

Oct 24, 2022

Complaints from outraged parents forced school officials to close Jana Elementary School in Florissant, Missouri due to reports of radioactive waste in the school and its playground. A recent report from the Boston Chemical Data Corporation disclosed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered radioactive waste near the school in 2018, and again in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Dust and soil samples from the school, including the library and the playground, contained high levels of radioactive lead. The kindergarten play area showed levels of radiation “22 times the expected background.”

It just so happens that Jana Elementary was built near Coldwater Creek, a tributary of the Missouri River that passes near sites used in the development of nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. These sites included radioactive waste storage piles. The school sits on a Coldwater Creek flood plain.

In a letter to school district officials after yet another round of testing this past January, the Army Corps of Engineers said "the contamination did not pose an immediate risk to human health or the environment because the contamination was below ground surface." Really? Since when does dirt stop radiation? And little kids never play in the dirt on playgrounds, right?

Parents of current students at the school are understandably angry, and they forced school officials to close the school and "pivot to online learning." Parents want the district to find safe alternative schools for their children, while some rightly worry about their kids being scattered to the wind from the area where they live. In the meantime, these young students will suffer from the detrimental effects of “virtual learning” experienced by so many throughout the Covid pandemic.

What has received barely a mention is what will be done to follow up on the possible exposure to radiation by students who have attended the school, not to mention anyone who has lived near the area in the nearly 80 years since radioactive waste was left near Coldwater Creek. And why did it take the U.S. government this long to discover the high levels of radiation? Apparently the government was not anxious to advertise its culpability for poisoning the population in the areas where it conducted nuclear weapons research.