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In the U.S. it is possible to secure a list of Superfund sites from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by simply writing to them. I’ve had my list for awhile, but just the other day I noticed something shocking.
West Salem High School is an active Super Fund site located at 1776 Titan Drive in Salem, Oregon. The EPA identifies sites such as West Salem High School because they pose a potential risk to human health and/or the environment due to contamination by one or more hazardous wastes.
West Salem Walker Middle School and its Baseball Field is another Superfund site in the capital of Oregon, located at 1075 8th Street, Northwest Salem. As a single entity, it has been given the same designation: Active.
How is that even legal? To operate an educational institution on grounds which are seriously toxic.
I left messages for the principals, vice principals, counselors and (in the case of the high school) a parents group indicating that I had “health-related information to share” with them, but no one has responded to my efforts to connect to date; it’s been at least 48 hours since I reached out.
That would be bad enough to report, but there’s more. By continuing to peruse the list, I discovered that there were schools in every single state which were plagued by the same situation.
There are lots of discussions these days about bullying on school grounds, and much talk, of course, about guns on campuses. But I haven’t seen anything yet about the dangers I’m addressing here, which are infinitely more worrying and impactful. On an ongoing basis, daily.
The fact that there are so many hazardous Super Fund sites festooned around the U.S., and so little concern expressed about them should be troubling to everyone worldwide.
For if U.S. educational institutions are neglecting the health of their own children in the ways I’ve described above, what does it say about the degree to which U.S. citizens are capable of caring about the toxicity they are spreading abroad?
Don Qaswa can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org..