FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ)– Cancer cluster concerns.
Weijia Jiang reports hundreds of people who live near Fort Detrick made their voices heard at a town hall meeting Saturday.
Hundreds of people who live near Fort Detrick died from cancer or are living with it. Now, one by one, they’re coming forward with grave accusations against the military base.
“This is more than just people dying from the disease and government cover up. This is murder,” said one.
On Saturday, nearly 150 people attended a town hall-style meeting in Frederick to share stories led by Randy White, who lost his daughter and wife to cancer. White launched a campaign to investigate Fort Detrick’s role in some 600 cases in the area. He says he can prove workers were ordered to destroy evidence in reports.
“Fort Detrick lies, they lie,” said White, who started The Kristen Renee Foundation. “They’re worse than the Mafia. They’re serial killers.”
During the Cold War, Fort Detrick led the country’s research into biological warfare, even experimenting with Agent Orange. EPA reports show hazardous chemicals were dumped within hundreds of feet of people’s homes.
A Fort Detrick spokesman told WJZ over the phone that they are working closely with Frederick County and the state health departments. They’re processing cancer statistics from the area. So far, he says there’s nothing to support any claim of a cluster.
“We want them to stop lying to us and tell us exactly what they’ve done, and what they’ve done that we don’t know,” said cancer survivor Edward Krantz. “Because what we don’t know is gonna kill the rest of us.”
Ongoing EPA groundwater sampling indicates the cancer-causing chemicals TCE and PCE are above the Safe Drinking Water Act maximum contaminant levels in some places. Fort Detrick insists there is no public health risk.
White is calling for a congressional investigation.
“We don’t want anyone living or working if it’s not safe,” Sen. Ben Cardin said. “The federal government has to take responsibility.”
There’s no word if or when we could see a congressional hearing about the toxins. In the meantime, White is planning to file a mass tort lawsuit against the Army.
The Fort Detrick spokesman says the health department’s report will be finished sometime next month.