Cancer Epidemic in Waycross, Georgia? Why The Health Issue Continues

By Tony Park - 25 Oct '16 08:11AM
Medical authorities remain in the dark on the cases of four children in the Waycross area who were diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, cancer that affects the body's soft tissues. The children were found to have cancer within two months of one another in summer of 2015.

The Georgia State Department initiated an investigation into the childhood cancers and their possible link with an industrial site at CSX Railyard in Waycross. A state probe has been set up due to the rarity of the cancers involved in the children's cases.

CNN reported in March 2012 on cancer cases in Juliette, Georgia. The report revealed the link between family health problems in the area and uranium poisoning. This link was supported by a testing by University of Georgia researchers.

Juliette residents blamed their problems to Georgia Power's two wells where toxins from its massive coal plant were leaking. The utility company denied the allegations, stressing their compliance with state and federal guidelines.

Three years hence, the same issue has resurfaced in the Waycross area. This time industrial pollution is the main culprit. Residents have raised their concerns that the childhood cancer diagnoses were caused by environmental factors.

The state's Department of Health found it unusual to discover three rhabdomyosarcoma diagnoses in such a small area such as Waycross. The cases are now under investigation.

The CSX rail yard, which is suspected to have a role in the cancer cases, is an industrial site where contaminants such as chlorinated solvents and paint waste are concentrated, said Jim Brown, a state Environmental Protection Division official.

But CSX refuted that the company abides by the state's all environmental regulations. The company stressed its "commitment as a good steward of the environment

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