Jana Elementary School Radioactive Waste Scandal Explained

Jana Elementary School was an elementary school located in Florissant, Missouri, near St. Louis. The school served over 400 students.

Jana Elementary is located near Coldwater Creek, which was contaminated by the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bombs used in World War II.

Jana Elementary closed in October 2022 after studies showed unusually high levels of radiation on school grounds.

Jana Elementary Playground
Jana Elementary Playground

Radiation Found At Jana Elementary

Soil, dust, and plant samples were taken from the school grounds at Jana Elementary in August of 2022.

A report released in October 2022 by the Boston Chemical Data Corporation determined that Jana Elementary had high radioactive levels.

The report revealed that there was radioactive lead, known as lead-210, found on the kindergarten playground. The levels of lead-210 were “more than 22 times the expected background.” Levels of lead-210 on the school’s basketball courts were also “more than 12 times” higher than expected.

Coldwater Creek
Coldwater Creek

The analysis determined that the source of the radioactive levels was Coldwater Creek.

Marco Kaltofen, author of the study, told CNN, “The Jana School, like many homes, institutions and businesses in the area, borders Coldwater Creek. This waterway has been contaminated by leaking radioactive wastes from disposal that began shortly after World War II and is not yet cleaned up.”

Kaltofen explained that when the creek floods its banks, radioactive material is deposited onto land in the area, like school property.

School District Said Radiation Levels Were “Unacceptable”

The Hazelwood school district in charge of Jana Elementary said the radiation levels were a concern.

In a statement, the district said: “The radioactive contamination found inside Jana Elementary School and in the outside play area is an unacceptable threat. I am requesting an immediate cleanup of hazardous waste on Jana Elementary School property and building, in its entirety, to ensure the safety of our children, teachers, and school staff.”

Lead Exposure Can Cause Brain Damage, Cancer

Exposure to lead can affect the entire human body and can cause extensive damage to the brain and nervous system. Lead exposure can also slow development and growth and lead to learning and behavior’s problems.

Conditions associated with lead exposure include reduced IQ, hearing problems, speech problems, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Lead exposure can also lead to cancer diagnosis later in life.

Jana Elementary Closed

After the report on radiation levels was released, it was announced that the school would close and that students would be taught via virtual learning.

Politicians React

Angela Walton Mosley, who represented the 13th Senatorial District in the Missouri General Assembly, reacted to the report of radioactive contamination.

“Concerns about radioactive waste in our region have been ignored for decades. This threat can no longer be downplayed or treated with half-measures. It is well past time for a massive response from state and federal agencies to clean up these sites and provide testing and assistance for the people impacted. The decision to close Jana Elementary is a step in the right direction, but we must do more to ensure the citizens of our community are safe and protected from this dangerous waste,” Mosley said in a statement.

Army Corps Of Engineers Testing

The Army Corps of Engineers began a process to test the “entire school property” on October 24 2022.

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