A Missouri couple says their home is contaminated with dangerously high levels of radioactive waste left over from the US government’s second world war-era atomic weapons program.
In a lawsuit filed in the St Louis County circuit court on Tuesday, Robbin and Mike Dailey of Bridgeton say dust samples collected from their kitchen and basement were found to contain the radioactive element thorium-230 at levels about 200 times higher than normal “background” levels.
In a move they hope shines a light on the continuing impact of the country’s early nuclear weapons program on their midwestern city, the Daileys named nine companies in their lawsuit that they say are responsible for decades of negligence that led to the contamination of their property.
Atomic City, USA: how once-secret Los Alamos became a millionaire’s enclave. “The stress my husband and I have been under is equally toxic,” Robbin Dailey said of the test results from her home Tuesday afternoon. “It was sad. Shocking. I had a good cry. After that I was pissed as hell and ready to fight.”
The Daileys’ attorneys said the test result documents would not be immediately available, and that the analysis was carried out by a third-party researcher in conjunction with a private laboratory in Massachusetts.
The city of St Louis played a lesser known role in the US government’s push to develop the first atomic weapons in the 1940s – a program called the Manhattan Project that continues to plague thousands of residents here. For years, the city hosted a plant where raw uranium ore from the Congo went through the initial stages of purification.
A plot of land near St Louis’s airport became a dumping ground for the radioactive waste from that process, and eventually a haphazard storage site for other radioactive waste – including 60 tons of radioactive sands captured from Nazi Germany near the end of the war.