2019 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2019 16:37:01 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] "Why are so many people getting rare cancers..." in Waycross, Georgia
Why are so many people getting rare cancers in this small Georgia Town

Atlanta Magazine (GA)
APRIL 23, 2019

In Waycross, there’s a tale about a boy who got a surprise while playing outside one day. He was behind his home on Brunel Street. This was back in the middle of the 20th century in a working-class neighborhood on the southeast side of the railroad yard. He got ahold of some matches. The boy was near a canal. These manmade creeks run all over town and keep the boggy, low-lying land from flooding. The boy was curious, mischievous. He struck a match, lit a piece of newspaper, and tossed it into the water. But when the burning paper touched the surface, it didn’t go out. The water burst into flames.


As news spread on social media, many in Waycross came to wonder if these cases constituted a cancer cluster. Two years earlier, a resident in her early 50s named Joan Tibor had formed a group called Silent Disaster to spread the word about pollution in town. The idea sprang from her own health issues: a clouded mind, trouble speaking, a mass on her left leg. With no answers from doctors in town, she researched contaminated properties and became convinced those parcels were essentially poisoning the people of Waycross.

In late 2015, the Georgia Department of Public Health said it could find no link among the children’s cancer cases. Then it backtracked and said more investigation was needed. In December, the federal government stepped in. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it would work alongside state officials in evaluating contamination at the railroad yard as well as an Atlanta Gas Light property that once held a power plant, which was torn down after closing 60 years ago.


For the entire article,e see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director
Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
P.O. Box 998, Mountain View, CA 94042
Voice/Fax: 650/961-8918 

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