Chat is the waste product of lead and zinc mining. Heavy mining in the town of Picher, OK has resulted in abandoned mine shafts and over 75 million tons of chat scattered about the town. Lead and other toxins have seeped into the groundwater, lakes, and ponds. Elevated levels of lead in the town's children have resulted in learning disabilities and other problems. The EPA has declared Picher to be one of the most toxic areas in the United States.

The town has been scheduled to be closed. The government has earmarked $3 million to relocate families with young children. Nearly all of Picher's population has evacuated. Some refuse to leave.
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