Federal study looking into link between cancer and Coldwater Cre - KMOV.com

Federal study looking into link between cancer and Coldwater Creek

Posted: Updated:
Coldwater Creek Coldwater Creek

Many families are asking if elevated rates of cancer in part of north St. Louis County are connected to radioactive contamination in Coldwater Creek.

"My wife died of cancer, I had it, I see two other guys in my subdivision and I know for a fact they're fighting cancer,” Eddie Peterson, a north St. Louis County resident, said.

A new federal study is underway that could finally connect the dots between cancer cases and Manhattan Project radioactive waste that washed into Coldwater Creek.

Scientists with a federal agency that's a division of the Centers for Disease Control are inside the Jamestown Bluff branch of the library answering questions about their new two-year study and hearing personal stories of families which lived near Coldwater Creek that were ripped apart by cancer.

Jason Whitcomb played in Coldwater Creek as a kid.

"Now, the last couple of years I'm hearing about cancer, all kinds of stuff coming from the water I used to play in all the time,” Whitcomb, a former resident of north St. Louis County, said. “So, it's a little scary."

Whitcomb was one of the many people who came to this meeting which launched the new study. Nicole Smith is battling breast cancer and she hopes the study answers her question.

"That's that big question could it be from the contamination,” Smith, a north St. Louis County resident, said. “We stayed in Florissant over twenty years, we stayed right behind the little creek."

Radioactive waste from uranium processing was dumped near the creek in the 1940s through the 1960s. A study in 2015 found elevated levels of cancers in neighborhoods hear the creek. This new study will look at all of that.

"To understand what people might have been exposed to along the creek in terms of the radiological contamination along the creek and other contaminants and whether or not we think that could lead to an increase in those,” Spencer Williams with ATSDR, said.

Contamination from the creek is believed to have spread by flooding and redevelopment that moved the creek channel. The creek water is not believed to be contaminated anymore, but teams continue to take soil samples to look for contaminated soil below the surface. It's been found in twelve locations already. The study hopes to answer questions about long-term exposure in past years.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly