Coldwater Creek

What is Coldwater Creek?

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Coldwater Creek

The view from the bridge crossing over Coldwater Creek in St. Cin Park in Hazelwood.

The view from the bridge crossing over Coldwater Creek in St. Cin Park in Hazelwood.

Sophia Seger

The view from the bridge crossing over Coldwater Creek in St. Cin Park in Hazelwood.

Sophia Seger

Sophia Seger

The view from the bridge crossing over Coldwater Creek in St. Cin Park in Hazelwood.

Sophia Seger, Reporter

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Chances are the name Coldwater Creek is meaningless to you, but to others it’s something that has permanently impacted their lives. This creek has taken kids’ parents and parent’s kids, it has given people terminal cancers that have restricted them from maintaining a normal happy life, or has caused them to pass away. Many children have been born with horrible birth defects including cases of conjoined twins, but what is Coldwater Creek?

Coldwater Creek starts at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and runs through Florissant, Black Jack and Hazelwood, Mo. Coldwater flows into the Missouri River which runs through the middle of the United States.

In 1942, Mallinckrodt Chemical Works started processing the original Belgian Congo Uranium for the first atomic bomb. In the 1940s, Mallinckrodt began to run out of space to store the leftover waste and started to move waste to separate locations, one of these locations being St. Louis Lambert Airport. At this point in time, no one knew how hazardous these chemicals were and how to properly dispose of them.

The toxic waste was placed on the edge of the airport above Coldwater Creek and covered with nothing other then tarps. When it started to rain, the toxic waste would run off into the creek and the water would track the toxic waste all around North County, bringing deadly chemicals into victims homes, backyards and play areas.

Coldwater Creek ran through kids’ backyards. In the 1940s to the 1980s, kids spent most their time playing outdoors so of course when they found a creek near their homes, they played as kids do. At the time, no one thought there was anything wrong with the creek and walked, swam and played in it daily.

As time went on, people started getting sick, very sick. An alarming amount of people were getting diagnosed with very rare cancers in a small area, which raised suspicion.

Coldwater Creek cancer cluster map, 2015.
http://www.coldwatercreekfacts.com/2015-health-maps/

In 2015, people began to become informed about the hazardous things that the Mallinckrodt corporation covered up for years, and awareness began to be spread. Groups such as Just Moms STL started trying to inform everyone they could, they even went to Washington D.C. to protest the issue, but they were ignored by multiple government officials.

The documentary “Atomic Homefront” was created in 2017, which featured victims of Coldwater Creek. All of the sick victims in the documentary passed away before the film was released, which should alarm many.

People continue to try and fix this issue, but it’s impossible to remove all of the hazardous waste as its been seeping into the soil for decades, but the waste is not as dangerous as it used to be. The people who are currently dying from others mistakes, are the ones who need our help.

Emily Barnett, Fiona Flynn, Michael Gannon and Sophia Seger did a podcast called “Silent Killer”, you can listen right here.