Some of the most polluted, toxic regions in North America are also some of the most beautiful. Here are images of toxic areas that may surprise you.
Wellpinit, Washington - Midnight Uranium Mine
Open-pit Midnite Uranium Mine on the Spokane Indian Reservation northwest of Wellpinit, Washington. 2004 AP photo by Jeff T. Green.
Silver Valley, Idaho
Here you can see the Lucky Friday, a silver mine in Idaho's Silver Valley, home to one of the largest superfund sites in America. After decades of cleanup, the area is green again - though experts say more cleanup is needed, and that the soil is still toxic from arsenic and lead left over from previous mining operations. 2007 AP photo by Nicholas K. Geranios.
Brooklyn, New York - Gowanus Canal
Here is a toxic area that looks the part. Pollutants flow from a brick-lined tunnel into the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. Last year, the canal was declared a superfund site. The EPA cited years of "storm-water runoff, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants." 2010 AP photo by Mark Lennihan.
Libby, Montana - Zonolite Mine
The small town of Libby, Montana appears beautiful and pristine, but it's home to the deadliest superfund site in America. The problem came from mining asbestos-contaminate vermiculite, an ore used in many products, including insulation. Hundreds of people have died from asbestos poisoning after working in the Zonolite Mine, and in 2009, the EPA declared the town "a public health emergency." 2010 AP photo by Rick Bowmer.
Clearlake Oaks, California - Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine
In Clearlake Oaks, California, a beautiful lakeside community is next to an abandoned mercury mine. The Elem Tribal Colony is at left, in the background - and in the foreground is a dam built atop contaminated mine waste at the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine, a superfund site. 2009 AP photo by Eric Risberg.
Yerington, Nevada - Anaconda Copper Mine
An evaporation pond holds contaminated fluid and sediment at the former copper mine. Though it is a superfund site, it hasn't been rated a "national priority," so there has been no federal funding for cleanup of the radioactive and other toxic waste in the area. 2004 AP photo by Debra Reid.