This is one extremely scary movie! But it isn’t zombies or slashers. It’s invisible, and it’s killing men, women and children right here in the U S of A. And it’s a true story, an inspiring activist battle that is happening today. This is the story of a community in North Saint Louis, Missouri. And the threat to their existence is a landfill right in their back yards full of radioactive waste left over from the Manhattan Project. And it’s on fire now.
The problems with the landfill go back for decades. The uranium for the Atomic Bombs dropped over Japan was processed in St. Louis. And the waste products from building the bombs, still highly radioactive, were all dumped not far from downtown. Over the years families moved in and out of the neighborhoods near the waste. Kids played in the creek. People noticed a smell that signaled it was unsafe to go outside. And a lot of people, more than the statistical norms, died of cancer. And eventually the people got mad enough to do something about it. It was the Moms who organized. They called themselves Just Moms STL and they started calling on the government to take some responsibility. People came down from Washington and tried to placate them. One of the EPA guys told them that there were no studies on radiation at low levels. That was a lie and there were a lot more, from the government and from the people who owned the landfill. And there were plans to build a firewall put off year after year. But there is also a fire burning way below the surface and no one, not the government, not the owner has any clue about how fast it’s moving or when it will hit the areas with the biggest concentrations of radioactive materials.
This is an on-going disaster. The fire still burns. The EPA still has plans in the future for this Super Fund site. And the people can’t move because their houses are worthless. Atomic Homefront is a powerful documentary, because the Moms have educated themselves and their community and everyone is working together doing everything an activist should do. But as of this writing, they’re still waiting and still being exposed and still worrying about their kids. It will be coming to HBO in the next few months. Look out for it!