“Unacceptable levels” of radioactive contamination in the St. Louis school, the study finds

Parents are outraged by a new study that shows “unacceptable levels” of radioactive contamination in a St. Louis elementary school. Radioactive contamination detected in the Jana Elementary School playground was 22 times higher than normal, according to a study commissioned for a class action.

The study, conducted by Boston Chemical Data Corp, also found “unacceptable levels” in the school’s kitchen, gym and ventilation systems. When Patrice Strickland, a parent, learned of her contamination, she decided to keep her two children at home to learn virtually.

“It’s overwhelming right now,” he told CBS News.

Strickland spoke at a school board meeting Tuesday night, where he said he first heard about the taint from the news. The district apologized and said the elementary school will be virtual starting next Monday, October 24th.

“There are a lot of things you can protect your kids from, but it felt like something I didn’t have control over. And as a parent, it’s not easy to feel like you don’t have control,” Strickland said.

In January, the United States Army Corps of Engineers notified the Hazelwood School District of “low-level radioactive contamination” on the banks of Coldwater Creek, which is located in the schoolyard. The Corps has been cleaning nuclear waste from the creek for years. Thousands of barrels dating back to the 1940s containing radioactive waste from uranium processing for the nation’s atomic bombs have been improperly stored. They contaminated the soil and Coldwater Creek.

The Corps regularly tests the stream and nearby areas, and this is how it found “low-level” contamination. But in a letter to the superintendent, it is stated that there is no “immediate risk to human health”. The Corps told CBS News that the lawsuit study “is inconsistent with our accepted evaluation techniques and must be thoroughly scrutinized.”

The school building is outside the Corps testing boundaries, but Jana Elementary PTA president Ashley Bernaugh said the Corps was not transparent.

“I believe the sun is an excellent disinfectant, so I’m willing to disinfect wherever we have to go by taking out each carpet and shaking it,” Bernaugh said. “To get to the truth. There’s no dirt under them anymore.”

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