Woman claims Manhattan Project caused her cancer

By Amanda Thomas | May 20, 2018

​A Florissant woman has filed a lawsuit against a biopharmaceutical company and chemical-producing corporation for alleged negligence related to the disposal of “hazardous, toxic, and radioactive materials” near residential neighborhoods in St. Louis County.

© Y-ntousiopoulos | Megapixl.com

ST. LOUIS – A Florissant woman has filed a lawsuit against a biopharmaceutical company and chemical-producing corporation for alleged negligence related to the disposal of “hazardous, toxic, and radioactive materials” near residential neighborhoods in St. Louis County. 

Terry L. Williams filed a complaint on May 16 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against Mallinckrodt LLC and the Cotter Corporation, alleging the defendants violated the Atomic Energy Act of 1954

According to the complaint, Williams alleges she has suffered physical injury, pain and suffering because of annual exposure to radiation when she engaged in frequent outdoor recreational activities in and around Coldwater Creek, HISS and SLAPS sites.

The lawsuit notes that the nation began a top-secret project to build the first atomic bomb during World War II and the Army created the Manhattan Engineering District (MED) to carry out the work of the “Manhattan Project.” After the war, the nation formed the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to continue its nuclear research and some of the work was performed in the St. Louis area.

“Under contracts with the MED and/or the AEC, the Destrehan Street Refinery and Metal Plant (which later became Mallinckrodt Chemical Works) processed natural uranium into uranium oxide, trioxide, and metal uranium at a facility in downtown St. Louis,” the complaint said. 

According to the complaint, Mallinckrodt caused the release of radiation into the environment along haul routes in northern St. Louis County between 1942 and 1957. The complaint alleges that Mallinckrodt’s actions led to the contamination of “the air, soil, surface water, and groundwater along the haul routes.”

It is alleged in court documents, “Mallinckrodt’s acts and omissions between approximately 1942 and 1957 proximately caused plaintiff to suffer the injuries described in this complaint."

The complaint notes that the affected sites in St. Louis County have elevated levels of radium, thorium and uranium in groundwater and soils. The Environmental Protection Agency reportedly found that direct contact with or accidental ingestion of contaminated soils and groundwater near those sites may pose health risks to individuals.

Williams requests a trial by jury and is seeking punitive damages. 

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Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

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