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STLCC-Wildwood Hosts Symposium on Nuclear Waste and Occupational Illness

January 21, 2016

West Lake resident  

Leading experts on radioactive waste will discuss nuclear weapons development in a special symposium on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 6-9 p.m. at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, 2645 Generations Drive in Wildwood.

In the symposium, titled “The Atoms Next Door,” panelists will explore the regional and global implications of the development of nuclear weapons. It begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and art gallery exhibit featuring work inspired by the people and communities affected by nuclear waste. Christen Commuso, photographer and founder of the “Humans of West Lake Landfill” Facebook page, will discuss her exhibited photographs. Jason Hargrove will also attend in conjunction with his own related exhibit, “Contaminate St. Louis.” The work of both artists will be on display in STLCC-Wildwood’s Gallery of Contemporary Art during the month of February.

At 7 p.m., Helen Caldicott, M.D., Australian physician, author and internationally-known advocate, will address the context and consequences of nuclear weapons production, especially for human health and the environment. She will also examine the role of experts in helping the public understand technically complex hazards. This will include, in part, attention to the re-invigoration of Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization comprising doctors committed to educating colleagues about the dangers of nuclear stockpiling, nuclear war and environmental contamination.

3 Barrel artwork  

Following the keynote, a panel of local and national officials will join Caldicott in a conversation about nuclear waste and its consequences in Missouri and beyond. Panelists will include Denise Brock, ombudsman for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Office of Compensation Analysis and Support and the Centers for Disease Control; Sam Page, M.D., St. Louis County Councilman (Dist. 2); and Mark Harder, St. Louis County Councilman (Dist. 7). Ray Hartmann, of St. Louis Magazine and Donnybrook, will facilitate the discussion.

This symposium marks the inaugural presentation in STLCC-Wildwood’s “Making Knowledge Human Series,” which has been created by Gwendolyn Verhoff, Ph.D.  The series aims to promote public humanities engagement by providing leaders a stage to share their knowledge and expertise.

“We are honored to host this symposium, and we hope it helps cultivate a wider understanding of the local and global issues connected to nuclear weapons development,” Verhoff said.

While the event is free and open to the public, reservations are required. To register, visit https://goo.gl/dqGIs4.

For more information about this event, call 636-422-2000.