TITLEThe Safe Side of the Fence
RUNNING TIME108 minutes
Web Access
Available online from Real Life Pictures   (available with fee)

This award winning film describes the impact of uranium production on the health of workers at the St. Louis-based Mallinckrodt Chemical Works during World War II and the Cold War. Interviews with retired workers and their children reveal that the workers were unaware of their exposure to harmful radioactive and chemical materials. The film makes the case that the government knowingly placed the production of materials for nuclear weapons above the health of the workers. Evidence indicates that workers were exposed to high levels of radiation both during the active life of the plant and during its cleanup and remediation phase. The story of one daughter’s protracted but successful efforts to obtain compensation for her father’s work-related death illustrates the government’s resistance to recognize the problem or shoulder the responsibility. Finally, exposure to radiation by workers involved in site remediation and the remainder of potentially harmful materials at the site highlight the challenges posed by the continuing health and environmental legacy of producing uranium for weapons and reactor fuel.

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