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EPA and St. Louis residents work together on effort to clean up former chemical plant

In 1973, a plant owned by Velsicol Chemical made a mistake and shipped a toxic flame retardant chemical to a livestock feed plant.

That chemical was polybrominated biphenyl, or PBB.

It took about a year to discover the accident and millions of Michiganders ate contaminated beef, chicken, pork, milk, and eggs.

That Velsicol plant was torn down and buried in 1982 and the 52-acre site is now being cleaned up through the EPA's Superfund.

Meanwhile, the people of St. Louis, particularly the members of the Pine River Superfund Citizen Task Force, are keeping an eye on that cleanup.

Jane Keon is a founding member of the task force and author of Tombstone Town: Left for Dead, Marked with a Tombstone, a Toxic Town Fights Back. She joined Stateside to explain how she and other community members feel the Velsicol cleanup is moving along.

Listen above to hear Keon explain the effect this site has had on the St. Louis community over the years and why she feels the community and the EPA are now "all on the same page.”

Thomas Alcamo is a project manager for EPA Region 5. He also joined Stateside today to explain the EPA’s “stepwise approach” to cleanup and future goals for the site.

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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