SVCRC Joins U of Washington
Superfund Research Program
Children Run Better Unleaded Research
By Michael Rapp, Journalist
On October 13th, 2020, the Silver Valley Community Resource Center participated in nationwide webinar detailing ongoing pollution and health risks to residents of the Silver Valley.
Hosted by the Northwest Toxic Community Coalition, this tech conference included more than 150 people, from all walks of life, stretching from Washington State to New York. Among the prominent contributors were Dr. Steven Gilbert, Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders, Dr. Rhonda Kaetzel, Agency for Toxic Disease Registry and Barbara Miller, Director of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center a 30 old non-profit organization centered in the nations largest Superfund site. Under Barbara’s years of direction, the SVCRC has created the Children Run Better Unleaded project, the only agency addressing the mandated lead testing laws for children exposed to lead in the 1500 sq. mile, 2 state Superfund site of North Idaho and Eastern Washington.
Among the topics discussed at the webinar, the most important and most relevant to the Silver Valley residents is Bunker Hill Superfund site, specific to those who are living in the epicenter the original 21 square miles in 1983 and EPA’s failed attempts to clean it up. Although the Bunker Hill Mine and Smelter went bankrupt in 1981, the mine continues to pollute the towns and communities as well as downstream by way of the Coeur d’Alene River. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency has ignored lead levels of children, loosened regulations and failed to protect citizens of the Silver Valley. Currently, the Bunker Hill Superfund site is the largest in the US.
What can be done to help? Barbara Miller, SVCRC director and lifelong resident, recommends, “Giving moral and financial support for the aid of generations of families and children, workers who sacraficed their lives over the years.” It is important to continue the work combining outreach, education of lead exposure, testing and many other acts of reparation the community has gone without.
Furthermore advocating for an independent Community Lead Health Center, free from political interference and funded by settlement funds is well within the solutions the community desires.
“Remember,” declare the webinar experts, “Any lead is too much”.