ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—A cancer in the community. Lawmakers consider a study to determine the extent to which environmental poisons may have caused and may continue to cause cancer in certain areas of the state, most notably Fort Detrick.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports from Annapolis where neighbors made a stand.
In this WJZ investigation last November, Eyewitness News travelled to the homes of people living around Ft. Detrick in Frederick, including cancer patient Dottie Blank.
“I feel like I have this enemy across from me,” Blank said.
Blank worked at Fort Detrick, and she and her neighbors have seen cancer take an unusually high toll of lives in their community.
“What I have, is it because of Detrick?” Blank said.
Neighbors think yes, and while Blank stayed at home, several others were in Annapolis on Thursday in support of a bill to fund research into the causes and remedies. All had cancer stories of their own.
“In 2008, I lost my stepdaughter to brain cancer. Last February, my wife was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, and I lost her,” said Eric Cross.
There are 600 cancer cases in the area, and groundwater sampling indicates the cancer-causing chemicals are above the safe drinking water levels.
Stories like Charnice Carters, whose husband died of cancer, are setting off an alarm.
“After being told that his life expectancy was only going to be six months, we decided to go to Tijuana, Mexico to do alternative treatment,” Carters said. “It was there that I discovered a lump in my right breast. In September of 2010, which is the month me and my husband were married, I found out that I had breast cancer.”
The bill sponsor says he’s certain that there is no opposition to this study. It’s simply a matter of figuring out the cost, apart from human lives.
This study will be conducted by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.