Federal officials are being asked to answer why they gave an “all clear status” to a toxic waste dump in Pennsylvania’s Schukill County after a report given at the the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting stated that the number of rare cancer diagnoses in inhabitants living nearby was “statistically improbable.”
The site, a former mine, was used as a dumping ground for paint sludge, solvents, and other potential carcinogens, before being shut down in 1979. Later, the area was classified as a Superfund site by the Environment Protection Agency.
In 2001, the EPA took the sites off the Superfund list, but didn’t fully account for all the waste deposited there. Residents say McAdoo and the government failed to completely clean up and believe pollution caused freakishly high local levels of polycythemia vera, a rare form of cancer characterized by red blood cell overproduction.
In the fall of 2006, state officials asked the ATSDR to study the reported cancer cluster. The ATSDR, who officially state that “site-related contamination poses no public health hazard because there is no evidence of current or past exposures,” contracted Mount Sinai School of Medicine cancer researcher Ronald Hoffman to do the work.
The Agency on Toxic Substances and Disease Registry who commissioned the review later called the “biased and misleading.”
Government agency covering up cancer cases? Sounds like another case of Erin Brockovich — movie-worthy drama, but still frighteningly true. Perhaps the feds might want to consider doing something worthwhile with the toxic slurry.