The federal health agency concludes residents along Coldwater Creek in North St. Louis County have increased chances of cancer.
The final report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry concludes that residents within the Coldwater Creek floodplain have a significantly greater chance of contracting several different forms of cancer.
ATSDR is the federal agency charged with investigating and determining potential public health risks posed by hazardous substances in the environment. It is an arm of the CDC.
The report, which was issued on April 30, finds that residents near the creek from the 1960s to the present have elevated chances of contracting lung cancer, bone cancer, leukemia, and to a lesser extent skin cancer.
“People who grew up in the Coldwater Creek area and played often in Coldwater Creek or its floodplain may have had elevated exposures to Th-230 [thorium] and other radiological contaminants,” according to the report. “[T]he greatest increased lifetime risks would be for developing lung or bone cancers. ATSDR recommends people share their potential exposure related to Coldwater Creek with their physicians as part of their medical history and consult their physicians promptly if new or unusual symptoms develop.”
The 252-page final report contradicts claims that downplayed the risks made in a front-page story by staff writer Jacob Barker of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2016. The online version of the story originally included a link to a sarcastic video produced by the newspaper that mocked residents over their concerns.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporters and editors failed to respond to a request for comment before this story was posted.