West Chicago contains radioactive dirt by Silas S.

By November 19, 2017

One day I was talking to a friend and he said that West Chicago was one of the most dangerous places in the U.S. So, I started doing some research about it because I live in West Chicago, and  I found he was right, but not in the way you might think.
Lindsay Light & Chemical Company moved to West Chicago from downtown Chicago in 1930 and built a factory 43-acres long. The factory made rare earths. The toxic waste from the company was made up of radioactive materials such as thorium, radium, and uranium. These materials were used to make the atomic bomb in WW2.
This waste came in the form of soil, and the company said it would help the plants grow. They gave the waste to the West Chicago residents for free. The residents took back the “soil” to their homes and used it in their gardens and on their land.
During the 1980’s studies showed that the “soil” caused long term cancer 2 to 3 times more than in a normal town. Tiny radioactive particles drifted through the air and went into the DuPage river causing further contamination, and people inhaled these particles causing cancer. The particles went into the clouds and went into all the rivers around West Chicago.
Over 8 million dollars were used to take away the radioactive dirt from the water and from people’s homes. The company got sued over 15 million dollars. The complete environmental cleanup cost 4.4 billion dollars. Knowing that this town cleaned up its act before I was born makes me feel glad that it is not one of the most dangerous places in America, any more.


Author Aaron POTTER

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