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Why are There So Many Cancer Clusters in North Carolina?

Why are There So Many Cancer Clusters in North Carolina?

Mooresville, North Carolina is just one of the areas in the state that is currently experiencing a suspected cancer cluster. A cancer cluster occurs when a number of people in the same geographical area develop the same type of cancer over a certain period of time. In Mooresville, several cases of thyroid cancer have erupted in the past few years. On one street alone, three people developed thyroid cancer, while two others developed thyroid tumors. One of those people was Taylor Wind, the daughter of Susan Wind.

Taylor was 16 at the time she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Although she is in remission now, her mother has raised $110,000 to give to researchers from Duke University in Durham so they could provide the necessary tests to determine why the cluster was forming. That study, as well as others, are ongoing while scientists try to determine the cause. Past studies on cancer clusters are also being reviewed. The possible causes each of these studies have found are listed below.

Environmental Causes

When a cancer cluster formed in Toms River, New Jersey in the 1980s, an epidemiological study showed that environmental factors were a possible cause. Scientists theorized that two large waste dump sites had dumped toxic chemicals into the river, tainting the water supply and contributing to the development of a cancer cluster in the area.

In this case, officials never confirmed that the river was the source of the cluster. However, the two companies that were accused of dumping the waste came to a settlement agreement with dozens of families in court.

Coal Ash

Back in Mooresville, it is believed that the excessive amount of coal ash stored by the giant energy star, Duke Energy, may be to blame. Coal ash is the main substance used to power the Marshall Steam Station.

Although Duke Energy provides electricity to millions of people across six different states, it stores 21 percent of its coal ash at the Marshall Station. To put that in perspective, that means that approximately 16.8 million tons of coal ash is kept at the station.

That ash is also stored according to industry standards from years ago that are no longer practical. The ash is placed into unlined bins, leading some researchers to think that the contaminants are polluting the waterways, groundwater, drinking water, and the air. Those contaminants are deadly and include mercury, lead, and arsenic. These are all carcinogens that can cause cancer.

Radon and Flame Retardants

Other research also shows that radon could contribute to increased cancer rates. Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally occurring. It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, with only cigarettes contributing to more cancer cases.

Flame retardant is also thought to be partly to blame for cancer clusters. Flame retardants are used widely in building materials, as manufacturers try to make homes and other structures safer. Unfortunately, flame retardants also have chemicals that could cause cancer.

Call a North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney for Help

One person’s or company’s negligence should never lead to something as catastrophic as a cancer cluster. That is evident by the case of the waste companies that contaminated the environment and settled dozens of lawsuits as a result. If you have developed cancer as a result of someone else’s mishandling of chemicals or other wrongdoing, speak to one of our personal injury attorneys in North Carolina today. There may be compensation available, and our firm can help you secure the maximum amount you deserve.