(Note: The following was posted as an online comment in response to Robert Lee’s most recent column about the atomic age and the writer wished it to run as a letter.)
Your information about the St. Louis, Missouri, area being the first to usher-in the atomic age is incorrect. That title belongs to the massive chemical, metallurgical and ceramics industries located in and around Niagara Falls, New York. Due to Niagara’s expertise in these industrial specialties, the government turned to Niagara Falls for its earliest experimentation and production/refinement of radioactive materials.
Mallinkrodt may have been one of the first locations but certainly not the first (they were primarily a pharmaceutical company before World War II). Not to take away from the radioactive plight that has been brought down upon (the St. Louis) area but Niagara Falls has the exact same situation and even perhaps worse (Niagara has plutonium from the human radiation experiments (HREX) — buried direct-to-soils) and we’ve already had radioactive fires around Niagara County.
The reason I write is that this misnomer has gone around now all over St. Louis where the residents now believe that they were the first — it takes away from other sites with equal or greater problems, all-the-while St. Louis is selling videos, newspapers and selling tickets to said “movies” giving out mis- or dis-information, clouding any genuine or meaningful research for the people of St. Louis and for the world. Niagara Falls’ industry was the free world’s largest and oldest uranium metal-from-ore production location and facility for the entire Manhattan A-bomb Project (about a decade before the M.E.D,. and well after into the Atomic Energy Commission era). This is all cited from the U.S. Department of Energy records.
Shame on those who continue this ruse for publicity purpose and “legs.” Boo, I say, as a life-long Niagara Falls, New York, resident and, from my past employment and stays in St. Louis (c/o CPI and the Cards).
Niagra Falls-Lewiston, New York