Families in Clyde Ohio Child Cancer Cluster Hire Independent Expert to Search for Cancer Cause

Families in and around the Clyde, Ohio’s child cancer cluster have brought in an independent environmental consultant to investigate possible sources of toxic contamination that could be the cause of a cancer cluster that has already affected 37 children within a 12-mile radius, including four children who have died.

In 2007, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was called into the small farming town of Clyde, Ohio to investigate what state health officials feared was an abnormally high rate of childhood cancers. Though state officials were unable to determine a cause, records show that between 1996 and 2006, 35 children were diagnosed with leukemia, brain tumors, lymphoma and other types of cancer. One in five children had cancers affecting the brain and central nervous system and all the cancers affected children under the age of 19. The childhood cancer rates in what heath officials deemed a ‘cancer cluster’ in 2006 when 9 children were diagnosed with cancer. During investigations, four more children were diagnosed within this child cancer cluster, including a 7-year-old girl who was found to have the rare rhabdomysosarcoma, which affects that connective tissues in the body, NBC News reports.

Child Cancer Clusters Investigated by Federal EPA

In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came to the area, located just outside of the Lake Erie region in Northwest Ohio, with the hopes of determining the cause of the child cancer cluster. In 2012, the EPA moved from analyzing historical date to initiating the collection of physical samples. Focusing on 14 sites around the area, including a local park that was previously used as a dumping ground by Whirlpool Corporation, whose largest washing machine manufacturing facility is located in Clyde. Though the federal investigations found 13 of the 14 sites were clean, the last site, Whirlpool Park, a recreation area and swimming pool, was found to be contaminated with probable cancer causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and toxic sludge. Ground samples taken from the park showed contamination as deep as nine-feet. (http://www.northwestohio.com/news/story.aspx?id=825126#.UT8SvhxOPep)

Currently, Whirlpool is conducting a comprehensive study in and around the park, while the families in the child cancer cluster have taken matters into their own hands and brought in an independent environmental expert to check homes and local water supplies. According to the Toledo Blade, the results of these independent tests are expected to be available in as little as three weeks. (http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2013/03/05/Air-tests-of-Clyde-homes-start.html)

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