The plight of Picher, Oklahoma is well known to locals of the Four State area. Discounting the disastrous tornado that ripped through Picher not too long ago, the lead and zinc mining resulted in a dangerous contamination of the town. The mining in Picher arose from the mining in the Joplin area, after all, the town gains its name from one of Joplin’s earliest mining entrepreneurs, O.S. Picher. Recently, Wired magazine has written an article on the town.
Addititionally, here’s a streaming video link to a entertaining documentary about Picher today and the effects of its mining past. It’s worth watching if only for some video of the process of mining, the same process used in the Joplin area.