Friday, August 12, 2005

Children's Cancer Linked to Florida Power and Light (FPL)

According to an AP story released at 4:13 AM this morning, the families of two children in West Palm Beach are suing FPL because both boys have/had cancer due to FPL's mismanagement of radioactive waste.

One boy who was only 11 was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2000. The other died of brain cancer at the age of 13 in 2001. Both families point to the higher levels of strontium in the baby teeth of many of the children in the area, and cite a nuclear waste disaster in the 1970s that they blame for the problem.

What happened? Due to a plumbing mixup in the late 1970s, radioactive water was pumped into a nearby farm from the FPL power plant. It was used copiously in the fields, and was pumped daily from 1978 to 1980. From 1980 to 1982, radioactive sludge was dumped at the farm as fertilizer. When FPL discovered the problem, they reported it to the government immediately, they say. They went about cleaning it up entirely and claim that the entire mess was taken care of way before the boys were born.

There have been 29 cases of brain and central nervous system cancer in kids in St. Lucie County from 1981 to 1997. However, their local Health Department has found no pattern. I would like to know: if there is no pattern, is this type of childhood cancer common everywhere? Pattern or not, the evidence seems damning.


mal said...

Saur, I am not defending FPL here. That said, question 1, is the incidence "significantly" higher statistically? Question 2, have they proven a link here? Final Question, is this the start of a class action suit?

Problems like this require a LOT of investigation and even then the data may suffer from lack of rigor. The "facts" often cited in the filing of a law suit are usually less than objective

United We Lay said...

The poor mother.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Seems to me like FPL might have a problem here!

If it is true that the teeth have high levels of strontium - where did that come from? That is a rare earth element (rare meaning that before modern technology it was hard to extract the stuff from its ore - it is actually more common than its name suggests).

Anyway, the isotope of the element will either link it to the plant, or to somewhere else.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I think as rare as that is, the numbers border on epidemic. Naturally those responsible deny responsibility. They always do.

Tabasamu said...

Terrible news. I rather suspect FPL is to blame for this. Plus, how do we know how 'soon' they reported the problem? I bet they were really torn about it; should we report it and get all the bad publicity that comes with it...? But I can't believe that you can have 'total' cleanup when it involves nuclear waste, and I wonder about the fruits/veggies that came from that waste. Who consumed them? etc.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Mallory, all excellent points. The jury's still out (no pun intended). Still, I can't help but think (as Tabasamu pointed out) that when nuclear waste is involved, there will be some sort of problems associated with it.

Polanco, I know. I couldn't even imagine it and I don't want to try...

Iguana, yeah, the strontium is telling, isn't it?

Oldhorsetailsnake, isn't that true???

Tabasamu, you're right.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Scary. Just scary. We just don't know what's out there and what we are being fed. Literally or figuratively.

Fred said...

Another case for Erin Brockovich.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Tan Lucy, very true. There is excellent scientific evidence showing that any meat (other than free-range organically raised animals) is very dangerous to eat. I may have to go back to being vegan or even vegetarian. I lean that way anyway.

Fred, how cool would that be!