This site will be used as a repository for the information we have gathered about the findings of radioactive material on the grounds and inside the building of Jana Elementary School in the Hazelwood School District. This info was gathered alongside our partners, Just Moms STL and the Jana Elementary School Parent Teacher Association (PTA).
Findings Inside of the School Building
The letter below details that high levels of radioactive lead, pb 201, was found by independent scientists from Boston Chemical Data Corporation inside of the Jana Elementary School building in the following areas: on the cafeteria fan, in the boiler room, and in the school library. This material was also found on the school playground. It should be noted that all of these findings are outside of the authorized testing area of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
You can read the full report and data from the independent sampling of Jana Elementary above. The Hazelwood Board of Education recently made the decision to close the school building and have the children move to a learning environment while further testing and remediation plans are made.
Excerpt from the report that is linked in the letter from Jana Elementary:
“The Microvision SEM/EDS X-ray data was used to detect and assess radioactive particulate matter associated with contamination from flooding of the nearby Coldwater Creek. The most outstanding result of these analyses was that multiple examples of thorium-containing radioactive particulate matter were detected in the Jana School samples. The results were concerning because inhaling or ingested these particulates could subject one to long-term internal exposure to alpha-radiation emitting microscopic particles. Individual radioactive dust and soil particles were identified that contained as much as 15 percent thorium by weight. Thorium is a radio-toxic natural material that was found in earlier testing by the US Army Corps of Engineers in their initial investigation of Coldwater Creek soils near the school and is associated with the contamination known to be in the creek’s sediments. Of the three hundred and eighty-six (386) microparticles examined in samples from the Coldwater Creek and related areas, three out of the four radioactive microparticles with the highest thorium concentrations came from the Moule Drive/Jana School site. Put another way, of the hundreds of samples collected from the North St. Louis County area, none had more thorium than particulate matter found in the Jana School and in nearby homes adjacent to the Jana School. (Below: X-ray data for 15% thorium dust particle from the Jana School kitchen).”
“Indoor dusts (in the gym and the boiler room) at the Jana School were found to contain radioactive particulate matter with percent concentrations of radioactive thorium, an alpha-emitting radioactive contaminant. These thorium concentrations for dusts at the Jana School were among the highest found in the North St. Louis County area.”
Findings on School Grounds
In early spring 2022, we were connected with a parent in the Hazelwood School District (HSD) whose child attends Jana Elementary. She expressed great concern and frustration towards the lack of transparency and accessible information regarding the sampling on the school property for Manhattan Engineering District/Atomic Energy Commission radioactive waste contamination. She indicated she has made multiple attempts to obtain sample locations and results from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) and the school. Unfortunately, to little or no avail. As per FUSRAP instructions, she submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request but the response from FUSRAP indicating a large price tag for producing the documents deterred her from moving forward.
Following our mission to advocate in defense of Missouri’s people and their environment and our long-standing commitment to the clean-up of St. Louis’ radioactive legacy waste, we submitted identical information requests to the Hazelwood School District and FUSRAP and received the requested information. Upon review of the documents, we found that contamination has been discovered on the property and/or directly adjacent to it.
We believe parents should have been notified as soon as FUSRAP requested the Right of Entry to investigate the potential contamination on school grounds. Regardless of the findings or levels of contamination, parents deserve the right to know the potential dangers of exposure and make informed decisions for the safety of their children. Furthermore, they most certainly should not have to pay to discover this information. For five years, FUSRAP has been investigating the Jana Elementary property and the majority of parents in the district remain in the dark. Anyone spending time in and around the schools — children, parents, teachers, staff, and neighbors — should be informed of what is going on. MCE welcomes the opportunity to work with the school board and the broader school district community to advocate for swift action to address the contamination at Jana Elementary and other schools in the district. We can all agree that we want the Hazelwood School District to be a safe and healthy place to learn, work, and play.
Letters of Support
Various elected officials from differing parties and viewpoints have come together to support the cleanup of the school and to seek improved transparency and communication with the community alongside Coldwater Creek.
MCE’s presentation to the Hazelwood School District Board of Education on June 21, 2022
Skip ahead to the 1:08:10 mark of the video