Ohio Cancer Cluster Investigations Continue

The site of the former Whirlpool Park continues to be the center of a debate into an Ohio cancer cluster that has possibly caused almost 40 children to develop cancer since the middle of the 1990s.

The Whirlpool Corporation will pay for the 300-plus soil and water samples to be taken in the next few weeks from the site, which is situated in Green Springs, Ohio near the Whirlpool washing machine factory in Clyde, Ohio. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) previously found high levels of the potential cancer causing chemical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in soil samples taken from the Ohio cancer Cluster area, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Ohio Cancer Cluster Investigation

State and federal agencies have been investigating the Ohio Cancer Cluster area for more than six years, starting after local health authorities alerted them to the high number of children cancers diagnosed between 2002 and 2006. The EPA issued a report last year that did not link the chemical found at the park with the cancer cluster. The community then called in a private environmental consultant to continue air tests around the area, and three families filed a $750 million Ohio cancer cluster class action lawsuit against Whirlpool, Bloomberg reported. The Ohio Cancer Cluster class action lawsuit was filed in Sandusky Ohio by three Ohio families against the Whirlpool Corporation and other defendants on behalf of those who have died within the 12-mile Ohio cancer cluster allegedly due to exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Saying it is extremely difficult to find a specific cause for a cancer cluster, the Ohio Department of Health is working to develop a policy regarding how cancer clusters should be investigated. Dr. Ted Wymyslo told the Dispatch that the department will always listen to public concerns and will provide data to help determine areas of higher than normal rates of cancer however, Robert Indian, the cancer control expert for the department, has previously said he does not want the department to work on cancer clusters, if possible.

Whirlpool Park closed in 2006 and two years later Grist Mill Creek LLC purchased the property. The company says they are cooperating with the testing. Whirlpool also is cooperating with officials. In response to the class action Ohio cancer cluster lawsuit, Whirlpool issued a statement saying, “As a member of the community for over 60 years, with more than 3,000 employees in the area, we are also very interested in figuring out the facts behind this ongoing issue,” Bloomberg reports.

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