Some Oklahoma scientists are researching the effects the chat piles have had on people who grew up in the Tar Creek area. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports a forensic scientist at OSU's Health Sciences Center says her research shows those exposed to contaminants as children have more addiction problems.
She says the heavy metals found in those chat piles, like mercury and lead, affect the same molecules in peoples' brains as drugs like cocaine and meth. That means the euphoric feeling associated with those drugs is increased if the drug user has been exposed to the metals of tar creek. When complete, her research could be used forensically.
"I hope it's eventually used in the courts as an understanding of why someone committed a crime. Could it be because of the developmental impact of heavy metals growing up?" said Amber Hood.
Hood says a lot of her research has been done through DNA testing.