Picher, Oklahoma: America's most toxic Ghost Town

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Picher, Oklahoma: America's most toxic Ghost Town

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" In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency evacuated the town, deeming it unlivable."

"The town of Picher, Okla became an incorporated community in 1920, with a population of 9,726. The town was built around lead and zinc mining. In fact, Picher mine shafts produced over half of the lead used to make bullets fired during World War I. The community's contribution to the war effort continued through World War II. The zinc ore mines continued to churn out the in-demand material. As a result, the town boomed."

"Years of extracting ore from the earth lead to large piles of toxic waste from the mines scattered about the city. These contaminated mine tailings, tons of mill sand known as chat, have a severe impact on the environment and human health. The Picher area became a toxic place, the residents were exposed to the harmful toxins every time they stepped outside their door. But they had no idea of the hazards. Kids would ride their bikes up and down the chat piles. Some parents even used chat to fill their kids' sandboxes."

"By the time the mining stopped in the 1970s, the damage was already done. The groundwater was contaminated with ridiculous levels of lead, and the mining-induced eroded soil made sinkholes and cave-ins a serious risk."

"Over a decade after the 1983 Superfund was established [which included Picher], it was discovered that 63 percent of children were suffering from lead poisoning.

"To make matters worse, a 2008 EF4 tornado tore through the town killing six people, leveling buildings on the main streets, and destroying over 100 homes. For most of Picher's remaining residents, it was the final straw. The EPA implemented a buyout for residents to relocate. Nearly everyone took them up on the offer."

Drone footage: Picher, Oklahoma, abandoned town, EPA superfund site, sinkholes



EDIT: archive original post since there were additional comments https://archive.is/oj1J3
Last edited by kestrel9 on Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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