(Photo credit: Nancy Goldenberg, “Containment”)

At present, approximately 11 million people in the U.S., including 3-4 million children, live within 1 mile of a federal Superfund site. Photographer Nancy Goldenberg examines this corrosion of the American landscape via human measures. The mirror she holds reflects a disturbing picture.

In her own words:

The Tar Creek Superfund Site in Northeastern Oklahoma is the most polluted region in the United States, the result of unregulated lead and zinc mining. I grew up near there and, until the mid 1980s when the Environmental Protection Agency declared the area toxic, did not know the health risks associated with normal day to day activities.  The mountains of gravel contain arsenic, lead, zinc, and other heavy metals affecting the health and welfare of local residents. These metals contaminate the landscape and have leeched into local ponds previously used as swimming holes.  The new normal for local residents is a deadly mix of heavy metals inherent all parts of the community they called home–places where they worked, played and lived.  The entire area has been condemned, and recently residents have participated in a government buy-out of their homes. The community is now gone; it no longer exists.