California’s Top 10 Environmental Disasters: #2 – Farallon Islands

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This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Top 10 California Disasters
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South Farallon Islands (Southeast Farallon Island with Maintop Island in the foreground) in Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

South Farallon Islands (Southeast Farallon Island with Maintop Island in the foreground) in Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

The ocean waters around the Farallon Islands served as a nuclear waste dumping ground from 1948 until 1970. Just 30 miles from San Francisco, the Atomic Energy Commission threw almost 50,000 barrels of waste into the Pacific Ocean, along with other radioactive waste — such as the USS Independence, which was stationed at Bikini Atoll during the nuclear tests carried out at that site.

President Theodore Roosevelt set aside the area as a sanctuary in 1909, a function that the islands still serve. However, no cleanup of nuclear materials, which the government claims is low level, has been made.

There are reports that barrels that did not sink properly were shot by soldiers so that they would sink to the ocean floor. That would have released radioactive materials into the ocean waters, and that radioactivity would be bio-concentrating up the food chain to this very day.

Marin County breast-cancer rates are some of the highest in the world. While studies have yet to tie the cancers to the exposure to radioactive waste, you have to wonder just how the currents have been flowing between the Farallon Islands and the sea that runs along the county line.

Go to Rocketdyne ranked #1 on our list.
Series Navigation« California’s Top 10 Environmental Disasters: #1 – RocketdyneCalifornia’s Top 10 Environmental Disasters: #3 – Salton Sea »
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