Health, Science, Environment

West Lake Landfill
5:40 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Lawsuit Alleges West Lake Landfill Radiation Has Spread Off Site

A barbed-wire fence at the West Lake Landfill is intended to keep people out of the areas containing radioactive waste. But Friday's lawsuit alleges that radioactivity has spread off site.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

A lawsuit filed on Friday alleges that radiation from the West Lake Landfill has spread into surrounding neighborhoods, contaminating properties there.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintains that the public is not at risk.

Attorney Daniel Finney, Jr., filed the suit on behalf of John James, who has lived near the landfill in Bridgeton for more than 30 years.

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Public Health
10:45 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Health Departments Still Mastering The Art Of Tweeting

Health departments aren't making the best use of Twitter.
Credit (Twitter)

Public health departments are trying to reach their audiences through social media, but most have yet to learn how to "tweet" beyond the choir.

That’s the basic finding of a study out of Washington University in St. Louis that looked at how effectively local health agencies reach audiences through Twitter. Based on the study’s findings, health department tweets are more likely to connect with other health experts, educators and non-profit groups rather than ordinary consumers in need of reliable health information.

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Carter Carburetor
9:58 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Concerns Over Minority Hiring Dominate Asbestos Cleanup Meeting In North St. Louis

The former Carter Carburetor plant is located on N. Grand Avenue in St. Louis.
Credit Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated after the public meeting on 4-10-2014:

The meeting hosted Thursday night by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was supposed to focus on the first phase of the $30 million cleanup of the former Carter Carburetor plant in North St. Louis. That first phase involves removing asbestos from the site's main building.

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Mississippi River
12:02 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Mississippi River Is Ranked Third Most Endangered In The Country

A proposal to build more levees to manage the Mississippi River's floods is one of the reasons it's ranked third most endangered in the country.
Credit (Flickr/The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

The Mississippi River, one of the hallmarks of American landscape, is no longer the expansive, grand river it once was. Decades of constructing levees, dams and other systems for managing floods have whittled it down to a series of pools, dramatically altering its ecosystem. 

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Ameren - Coal Ash
3:01 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Meeting Tuesday To Take Public Input On Ameren Coal Ash Landfill

The approximate locations of drinking water wells in Franklin County (shown in red). This map was created for the Labadie Environmental Organization based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources well location data.
Credit Labadie Environmental Organization

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is hosting a meeting on Tuesday to get public input on Ameren's plans to build a coal ash landfill next to its power plant in Franklin County.

The meeting will focus on whether the agency should grant Ameren a landfill construction permit.

Ameren Missouri's Vice President of External Affairs and Communications, Warren Wood, said the new coal ash landfill will be state-of-the-art.

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The Rundown
9:44 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Health, Science, Environment Rundown: Answering Questions We've Long Pondered

Stripes are always in fashion for zebras
Credit (Flickr/Corey Leopold)

A confession: One of the things about science that I enjoy (and I’m not a scientist by training) is that it answers some really fun questions.

This week, St. Louis Public Radio came across not one, not two, but THREE articles that tackled some of science's most perplexing and fun conundrums.

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Bridgeton And West Lake Landfills
8:32 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

EPA Analysis: Neighbors Could Be At Risk If Landfill Fire Reaches Radioactive Waste In Bridgeton

This radiation warning sign is posted on the perimeter fence of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Credit (Sarah Skiold-Hanlin, St. Louis Public Radio)

A new analysis by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests there could be risks to area residents if an underground fire were to reach radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

An underground fire has been smoldering at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill for more than three years and is now about 900 to 1,000 feet from the radioactive material.

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St. Louis on the Air
12:05 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Saint Louis Zoo Works To Protect Endangered Species In Africa

John Newby feeding an ostrich
courtesy photo

What does the Saint Louis Zoo have to do with Africa? More than you might think. It is a founding member of the Sahara Conservation Fund, which works to protect endangered species in Africa.

“The zoo was already involved in captive breeding of these species and was really keen to get involved in the preservation of these species in the wild,” said John Newby, a conservation fellow with the Saint Louis Zoo and the CEO of the Sahara Conservation Fund.

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Asthma study
10:56 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

A New Hypothesis For Asthma in Blacks: Are Medications Part Of The Problem?

Dr. Leonard Bacharier, a Washington University pediatrician and asthma expert, consults with a patient at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Credit (Credit: St. Louis Children's Hospital)

Medical researchers have been trying for years to figure out why asthma is much more prevalent among African Americans than whites.  The easy answers include numerous environmental factors, such as allergens associated with pollution, cockroaches, dust mites and mold. These can be found in any household, but are thought to be more common in substandard dwellings in poor neighborhoods where asthma is more widespread.

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Health, Science, Environment
10:35 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

PSC Hears Arguments On Labadie Coal Ash Landfill

Credit (Ameren Missouri website)

Hearings begin in Jefferson City Monday morning on a proposed coal ash landfill in Franklin County.

Power company Ameren is seeking the Missouri Public Service Commission’s approval of the new facility to receive waste from its power plant in Labadie.

The utility is running out of room in its existing Labadie storage ponds. Ameren Vice President Warren Wood says the new landfill will be extremely safe, replacing slurry ponds with state-of-the-art dry storage.

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