The First Secret City

Before the creation of the secret cities of Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Hanford, the Manhattan Project hired the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works of St. Louis to refine the first uranium used in the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. For the next two decades, Mallinckrodt continued its classified work for the Atomic Energy Commission during the Cold War. The resulting radioactive waste contaminated numerous locations in the St. Louis area some of which have not been cleaned up 70 years after the end of World War II. Told through the eyes of an overexposed worker, the story expands through a series of interviews that careen down a toxic pathway leading to a fiery terminus at a smoldering, radioactively-contaminated landfill. The First Secret City is a feature-length documentary that reveals a forgotten history and its continuing impact on the community in the 21st Century, uncovering past wrongdoing and documenting the renewed struggles to confront the issue.

3 thoughts on “The First Secret City

  1. Is there any way this will be available to rent for screening in the San Francisco Bay Area? I grew up in Florissant and only recently learned of the contamination across many areas around the city and county. Many members of my family have had cancer including myself; thank you for bringing this information to light.

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  2. At the hundreds if not more of soil, water and air taken at each superfund site, why is there no actual map? There are hundreds more photos taken at each and every superfund site than there are individuals driving around in vehicles to film Google Maps. There are certainly topographical maps of each site, which were used by the reporting agencies to delineate the actual physical extent of each site. There are countless news stories about sites, but no comprehensive site maps. Only charts and graphics … not maps. A single spot zeroes in on a general geographic location and does not show the perimeter or concentrations of hazardous materials.

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