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Last August, the state health department said that the levels of cancer could be elevated, but noted that data includes outdated population figures.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.
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. #