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.


18 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.


  2. Is there a way I could get a copy of your film The First Secret City to show at a class I am organizing for this fall for the Life Long Learning Institute at Washington University? Life Long Learning offers a variety of classes taught by our members, who are senior adults. If you would like to know more, this is a link to our web site:
    I am hoping to facilitate a class this fall showing and discussing a series of documentary films that have been previously shown at the St. Louis International Film Festival. Your film seems particularly interesting since it is about St. Louis and since another toxic substance (lead) has been so much in the news lately.
    Thank you for your consideration.
    Marge Williams


  3. 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.


  4. Will you offer the film via YouTube or another streaming service for those of us wishing to see your film but living outside the St. Louis area?


  5. -“Groundwater URANIUM & Increased Incidence of CANCERS” by DRS. Sara Wagner, Bottai, Porter, Puett, Aldrich, Hebert et al;
    -DOCKET No. SSX-L-266-13 for WATER Whistleblower Case in NJ;
    -EPA Docket No. CWA-309(a)-11-002 Violations and Orders for Compliance of CEMEX;
    -“NGO Files SEC Complaints against CEMEX (aka Southdown, Limecrest Quarry, Charlotte URANIUM Mines)” by GEC;


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