During World War II, St. Louis was home to a purification plant for raw uranium ore as part of the Manhattan Project, which led to a dumping ground and storage site for radioactive waste.
Today, residents are still feeling the effects, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday, per the Guardian. Robbin and Mike Dailey say dust samples from their home in the suburb of Bridgeton contain the radioactive element thorium-230 in levels up to 1,000 times greater than normal—allegedly the result of illegal dumping at a nearby landfill in the 1970s, reports the St.Louis Post-Dispatch. The EPA found radioactive particles in rainwater runoff near the landfill in May, per St. Louis Public Radio, though the company in charge of the site—one of nine named in the Daileys' suit—says it's safe.
Yet the Daileys' samples are no fluke: Last year, thorium-230 was found on properties along a tributary of the Missouri River that travels through suburbs north of St.
Louis, while a radioactive lead was found in samples from northern St. Louis County. Studies also show high rates of autoimmune diseases and cancer in the area.
"Honestly, people literally die, and we're still sitting here doing nothing," says a woman whose 11-year-old daughter died of a rare form of brain cancer in 2011; she says all six in her household "have issues." "I had a good cry," says Robbin Dailey of the test results.
This article originally appeared on Newser: St. Louis Couple Says WWII Nuclear Waste Made Home Unsafe