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New Radon Tests At The Acreage Seek Cancer Cluster Source

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, January 08, 2010 1:40 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Environmental Health, Radon, The Acreage, Brockovich, Cancer, Brain Cancer, Brain Tumor, Children's Health

Radioactive Gas?

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IMAGE SOURCE: Welcome To West Palm Web site/ Sign for The Acreage, Florida, Palm Beach Co.

The Palm Beach County Health Department plans to roll out radon tests to screen for the source of a suspected cancer cluster in The Acreage neighborhood.

The radioactive gas will be screened in the homes of a dozen families whose children have been diagnosed with brain cancer, reports the Palm Beach Post.

Residents of the semi-rural area claim there are higher than expected levels of brain tumors or brain cancer among children living there.

In December, two more children were diagnosed with brain tumors, joining about a dozen others who are suffering among the community of 50,000.

Last August, the state health department said that the levels of cancer could be elevated, but noted that data includes outdated population figures. That began a second phase of study by the state including interviewing families of children with brain tumors or brain cancer.

Class Action

The New York law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg made their second visit to the area this week for a second round of screening and sampling.

The firm was joined by environmental activist, Erin Brockovich, last year in a town hall meeting to answer questions from residents, and is testing the water at ten homes comparing their water with unfiltered water that comes from the well in the semi-rural Palm Beach County community.

The tests should take several weeks while investigators interview families of the dozen children who were diagnosed with brain cancer from 1993 to 2008.

Radon, Pratt & Whitney Suspected

Radon is suspected since radon samples taken last year show some homes in The Acreage have well water with elevated levels of radium and other radioactive substances. Radium can produce radon, a radioactive gas with a known link to lung cancer. It naturally is found decaying in rocks, soil, and water.

And Pratt & Whitney, the rocket and jet engine company that worked nearby on Beeline Highway, is responsible for leaks and spills on its 7,000 acres dating back 30 years.

In the 1980s the company has its own on-site cancer scare and is cleaning up petroleum in the groundwater as well as various metals and volatile organic compounds, inclulding a chemical solvent the company used, which is a likely human carcinogen, called 1,4-dioxane, jet fuel, and PCBs.

Legal Action Planned

Weitz & Luxenberg screened about 25 homes this week including those with cancer cases.

The firm has teamed up with Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, a law firm based in West Palm Beach (and IB Partner).

The Romano Law Group of Lake Worth has signed up six young adults with different types of cancer. #


3 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by David
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 6:57 PM EST

how about the vaccines they gave the kids? investigate all the vaccines!

How about the foods given in hte schools - something could be added to the foods in schools - and maybe state or nation wide

Anonymous User
Posted by Cris
Thursday, March 04, 2010 10:49 AM EST

Radon is a naturally occurring gas and occurs all over the USA and the world. What is different in Florida from where I first became aware of it more than 20 years ago when I moved to Connecticut is that the first thing you did there when buying or even rented a house was a radon test. And if it was positive you did not buy it or moved in until it was remediated it by sealing all posible leaks into the foundation, Basements did help also and were not recomended for living. I guess the old elevated houses like in Miami Shores, Surfside, and other similar areas serve more than flood protection. When I moved to South florida I was appalled that when I explain my concerns about radon I was looked at as a paranoid freak.

Anonymous User
Posted by Maria
Thursday, March 04, 2010 11:04 AM EST

David: you are right! why mostly kids? What do they consume, or where do they go, to what are they exposed that adult adults are not in this area.
could be as you say from vaccines, food or equipment, and materials used at parks, day cares or schools. Let's try to identify other suspects. What about some of the playgrounds soft floors so widely used in some kids play aqreas instead of old dirty sand.

Comments for this article are closed.

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