Mid-Michigan community copes with pollution aftermath - WNEM TV 5

Mid-Michigan community copes with pollution aftermath

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A local community is caught in the toxic legacy of a former chemical plant with decades of pollution now taking its toll on wildlife and residents.

It was one of the largest environmental catastrophes in American history, and it happened in St. Louis, MI.

"We have birds dying from DDT poisoning. Massive amounts of DDT poisoning," Jane Keom said.

Back in the 1970s, Velsicol produced a flame retardant that ended up in the water supply, but Keom said birds aren't the only ones affected.

"We have lots of (learning disabled) kids and thyroid problems," she said.

Jim Hall, who grew up in St. Louis, had surgery on his thyroid. His dad raised a family in St. Louis and his brother died in St. Louis.

"My sister had her thyroid removed. My cousin and I did have a brother pass away from cancer," he said.

Edward Lorenz is in charge of a task force that's trying to present solutions to the problem in St. Louis.

He said residents should reduce their exposure to contaminated soil and to let medical professionals know about their exposure.

Lorenz said the cost of clean up has cost more than $300 million.

The city of St. Louis won a nearly $30 million settlement against Velsicol for the contamination of its water supply, but residents said they don't care about any monetary judgments. They would rather have their good health back.

Health experts are attributing a variety of health problems in both children and adults to the contamination.

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