Picher, Oklahoma | Image: Tim Dowd
If there are any locations worldwide that you want to clear off your "bucket list," it's these ten towns listed in the linked article as the most toxic areas in existence. So unles you have a "bucket list" of places in which you'd like to kick the proverbial bucket, keep a wide berth from these hot spots.
One grim example is Picher, Oklahoma:
"The Tar Creek area, which includes the lead and zinc mining town of Picher was designated a Superfund site in 1983. In the mid-1990s, a third of children in Picher were found to have elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream, which can cause cognitive issues. (Members of the Picher school board have said that students showed a high rate of learning difficulties, despite the work of teachers and the school board.) But that's not what ultimately triggered the mass exodus from Picher; in 2006, a study found that, due to mining, the ground was at risk for collapse, and in fact one motorist died after driving into a gaping hole in the ground. That triggered a federal relocation buyout, with only six households and one business remaining in 2011.
How dangerous is it today? Well, the long-term plans for Picher don't include human habitation. The town is being gradually dismantled, and once the cleanup is finished, the land will likely be turned over to the Quapaw tribe, which resided there before the mines came in. At the moment, the Quapaw tribe intends to turn the area into wetlands. Other towns in the area, including Treece, Kansas, and Cardin, Oklahoma, are largely abandoned."