Mallinckrodt radioactive waste generated in St. Louis ended up at the Lake Ontario Ordinance Works in upstate New York
Between 1944 and 1950, radioactive materials produced as part of the Manhattan Project by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works of St. Louis were secretly shipped to a site near Love Canal in New York state, according to a long-forgotten investigative story by the New York Times.
The contaminated site, ten miles north of Niagara Falls, was the original location of the Lake Ontario Ordinance Works. The Times published the details of the environmental quagmire in June 1980, more than 35 years ago.
In its investigative report, the Times revealed that more than 20,000 tons of radioactively contaminated materials were transferred from uranium refining operations in Townawanda, N.Y. and St. Louis. Mallinckrodt purified uranium for the first atomic bombs manufactured in World War II, and continued the operations for 20 years during the Cold War.
Much of the uranium was known as Belgian Congo pitchblende, the purest form of the ore. During World War II, the Congo was still a colony of Belgium. Under an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Belgian-government-owned African Metals Corp. retained ownership of the valuable minerals found in the residue after processing.
Radioactive waste from Mallinckrodt is also known to have contaminated sites in St. Louis County, Mo.; Canon City, Col.; Fernald, Ohio and elsewhere. Before Mallinckrodt began its uranium refining operations it, it procured a waiver for all liability from the U.S. government.