FREDERICK — — Randy White had just buried a daughter, dead at 30 with a brain tumor. Now his other daughter had been diagnosed with growths in her abdomen.
When doctors told White in 2009 that their conditions were likely caused by something in their environment, the Frederick native thought of Fort Detrick. His children had grown up near the Army base.
Detrick was home to the nation's biological weapons program from the 1940s through the 1960s. It remains a key center for medical research.
"Anybody that lives in Frederick knows all the rumors," White says. "It's kind of like, 'Fort Detrick, they created anthrax, we knew that, smallpox …' It just clicked for me."
For decades, Frederick residents had speculated about the possible effects of the experiments at the base on the health of the surrounding community. But it took a grieving father with scientists, lawyers and money — White says he has spent more than $1 million so far — to drag questions about contamination and cancer out into the open.
White hired epidemiologists and toxicologists to monitor the air, soil and water around Detrick. He asked neighbors about their health histories and paid for lab tests to measure the toxins in their blood. He shared his findings with government officials.
The county and state health departments are now studying the cancer rate within a two-mile radius of the base. The Army has released details of Agent Orange testing. And local, state and federal officials are meeting regularly with the community to discuss their progress.
READ MORE: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-10-08/news/bs-md-fort-detrick-contamination-20111008_1_fort-detrick-cancer-rate-breast-cancer