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Friend of Silkwood Warns Of Drinking Water Danger

Oklahoman Published: July 28, 1985
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Sherri Ellis, once the late Karen Silkwood's roommate, said Saturday she is heading to New York City to warn urbanites of the dangers of drinking plutonium-contaminated water.

When she was 21 and an employee of Kerr-McGee Corp.'s Cimarron nuclear facility near Crescent, Ellis was contaminated by plutonium, an investigation disclosed.

Now, Ellis, at 32, doesn't believe New York City Mayor Ed Koch when he says the plutonium-contaminated water supply is "absolutely safe."

Ellis' roommate, Silkwood, was killed in a car accident on SH 74 near Crescent while on her way to talk with a New York Times reporter and a union official in Oklahoma City about alleged safety violations at the Kerr-McGee plant.

Her story was immortalized, as well as Ellis', by a 1984 movie in which Meryl Streep portrayed Silkwood and Cher was Ellis.

An Associated Press story this weekend reported that scientists are trying to determine why radioactive plutonium about 42 times what is considered normal was found when a test of New York City water was run in April. According to federal guidelines, the increased level was still less than one-hundreth of the amount allowed in water.

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