To the Editor:
This month marks 73 years since the United States dropped atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 226,000 people over the next four months. Today there are an estimated 14,500 nuclear weapons worldwide. Proponents of nuclear weapons often say that our country needs to continue to build and maintain nuclear weapons as a “deterrent” — to make sure that no one else ever uses them against us.
While this logic is flawed, there are many other reasons to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Even if nuclear weapons are never actually detonated, the mere manufacturing of them poses enormous health risks.
The city of St. Louis has a little known nuclear past as a uranium-processing center for the atomic bomb. Government and corporate negligence led to the dumping of Manhattan Project uranium, thorium and radium, thus contaminating North St. Louis suburbs. Residual radioactive waste was left outside in piles by a creek near homes, gardens, public parks and businesses. As a result, residents have now documented horrendous illnesses: high rates of very rare cancers, birth defects and various autoimmune disorders.
In 1973, approximately 47,000 tons of the same legacy radioactive waste was moved and illegally dumped into a neighboring St. Louis area landfill. New dangers have developed which could result in radioactive particles contaminating communities miles away.
The film “Atomic Homefront” tells the story of a group of local residents — mostly women — who have mobilized to get answers, created a powerful coalition and continue to fight for environmental justice.
The Franciscan Peace Center will host a free screening of “Atomic Homefront” on Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at The Canticle, home of the Sisters of St. Francis, 841 13th Ave. N., Clinton. For more information, visit www.ClintonFranciscans.com or call (563) 242-7611.
Franciscan Peace Center, Clinton