When it comes to environmental disasters in the United States, few can match the mess that was made in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Mining District—the “Silver Valley”—between 1885 to 1981. Indeed, to this day, and likely for decades to come, nearly a century of unrestrained lead, zinc, and silver mining in this once magnificently forested part of the western U.S. will leave the region’s land and people to bear the burden of an untold host of problems.
It is this very history and the effects it left that Michael C. Mix chronicles in his new book Leaded; The Poisoning of Idaho’s Silver Valley. Professor Mix, a long-time biology professor at Oregon State University, has been researching the Silver Valley since the late 1980s. Needless to say, his book will likely open the eyes of a large number of readers who may have never previously heard of this environmental catastrophe.