Environment & Tumors

Lawsuits Filed In Missouri Brain Tumor Cases
KANSAS CITY, Missouri, August 27, 2008 (ENS) – Six residents of the northwest Missouri town of Cameron are suing the owners of an insulation factory that has been closed for more than 25 years, claiming that discharges and hazardous waste from the factory caused a rash of brain tumors and other illnesses in local residents.

The company in question is Rockwool. It turned iron into fiber insulation at a plant three miles west of Cameronuntil until 1981. The company donated 20 acres and 86,000 sq. ft. building to the city of Cameron.

Some of this land has housing developments on it now, But many claim that Rockwool dumped toxic substances at or near the plant between 1974 and 1982. The company is said to have buried hazardous waste near the plant and in a nearby quarry.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is conducting a cancer inquiry in response to what the agency calls “a possible inordinate amount of brain tumor cases in Cameron.”

In conjunction with the cancer inquiry, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is conducting an environmental investigation with assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The state and federal agencies collected about 50 soil, sediment, surface water, groundwater and waste rock samples from the former Rockwool facility and the Grindstone Quarry on July 14 and 15, 2008.

Soil, surface water, sediment and groundwater samples were analyzed for volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds and metals. Waste rock samples were analyzed for metals.

Last week, the agencies said that their tests of soil and water near the plant and the quarry showed high levels of lead and arsenic in some areas but not enough to threaten health.

Sixty-eight people in Cameron have returned state surveys reporting cases of benign or malignant brain tumors, part of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ investigation into whether there is a cancer cluster in the town.

The EPA said Tuesday that more testing is scheduled, including water sampling at a group of homes and at a nearby quarry.

The EPA is also trying to pinpoint the site of an old city landfill for more testing. Also, samples will be taken in an area once used by rail cars.

In response to high community concern about the city’s drinking water as a possible cause of the brain tumors, the DNR tested the public drinking water but found “no contaminants that would pose a public health threat.” Over many years of testing and evaluation.

Another Rockwool site Belton, Bell County, Texas was placed on the EPA Superfund List in 1998. In 2004 the EPA ordered that a containment cell be constructed to prevent hazardous waste from the site from leaching into the ground water and entering the Leon River.”
Environment News Service (ENS) 2008.


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