Francis Howell grad worried about possible radioactive contamination near school

WELDON SPRING, Mo. - Did exposure to radioactive waste make former Francis Howell students and faculty sick? Former students are coming forward with reports of major sickness and the death of loved ones.

Tricia Byrnes, a member of the Francis Howell High School Class of 1992, formed a group called Chasing Answers after hearing stories of her friends and former classmates suffering from rare cancers, leukemia, and other conditions.

“I started the group in March, wanting to know if anyone else had suspicions that something happened in Weldon before we went to school that got us sick,” Byrnes said.

Brynes said the evidence is quickly piling up that suggests Francis Howell High School should have never been built where it was.

“I’m now in possession of tons of documents that people have collected from different FOIAs doing research on Mallinckrodt and Weldon,” she said. “I was floored at what I found.”

Brynes said she’ll share those documents at Wednesday’s public meeting at the Trigg Center in O’Fallon, Missouri.

“After they had the TNT plant and before the uranium plant, documents went out saying this property can never be owned unless in five-acre tracts and could never be habited by residents or sold,” she said.

Byrnes’ goal is simple: her group wants the government to conduct testing at the site near Highway 94, Busch Wildlife, and Francis Howell High School. She also wants them to hand over documents that are being kept from her.

“If it was ok then show me documents,” said Stephanie Lautner, a Class of ’97 Francis Howell grad. “If it was ok, show us our children’s health effects and my health effects are not a direct result of being (less than a mile) away from a former atomic bomb plant.”