Residents and former residents of the West Canada Valley
region should plan to attend a meeting next week that will outline some
possible reasons why the area has experienced higher-than-normal rates
of certain types of pediatric and adult cancers.
meeting in the West Canada Valley High School auditorium will feature
James Bowers, a Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
research scientist with the state Department of Health. The session also
aims to discuss the department’s investigation into the area to
determine if there’s a cancer cluster. Community members will have a
chance to have their questions and concerns addressed.
people are owed some answers. Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, who
represents the area, last year called on the state for an investigation
following reports of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in four children in the West
Canada Valley Central School District.
Lenarcic, a retired Herkimer County Community College history
professor, last year recalled that he and his students were involved
with a citizens group 30 years ago and sought answers from the health
department as to why so many children in this area were being diagnosed
with rare cancers.
At the time, Lenarcic
said, the group’s concern focused on the possibility of water
contaminated with dioxin, which has been linked to reproductive issues
and cancers. He has suggested the possibility that the experimental use
of Agent Orange at Camp Drum — now Fort Drum — in the 1940s and 50s
might have worked its way into the aquifer that serves the Kuyahoora
Valley area. Agent Orange, a herbicide used widely as a defoliant during
the Vietnam War, has been linked to birth defects and cancers,
including non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
than 1,000-member “WCV-What’s Making Us Sick?” Facebook group is
responsible for organizing Tuesday’s meeting. The group deserves credit —
and answers — and we encourage them to maintain their vigilance until
they get them.
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