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Attorney: Test results show cause for concern

Tom Jackson • Nov 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Hundreds of samples were taken at the site of the former 27-acre park near Green Springs and were tested in an effort earlier this year paid for by Whirlpool but supervised by U.S. EPA officials. Whirlpool released the results in late October and said the results show there’s little cause for concern about what’s buried underneath the former park’s surface.

“Whirlpool’s consultant obtained a total of 328 groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment and pool filter samples and tested for 232 chemical compounds,” according to the executive summary for the Whirlpool report. “The testing found no health risk and no evidence of hazardous illegal dumping.”

Alan Mortensen, the attorney for several families in the Clyde area affected by a deadly cancer cluster, said in a news release Saturday he begs to differ.

Mortensen describes the former park, now in private hands, as “the main location where it is believed that carcinogenic toxins have had the greatest impact on the cases of cancer, since the site is where many Clyde residents played and swam for nearly 50 years.”

“Whirlpool is reporting that there is no reason for concern and that no health risks are posed to the residents of Clyde. The residents who live near the park strongly disagree, based on facts in the report that were not made readily available to the media.”

People in the Clyde area filed two lawsuits against Whirlpool that mention possible contamination at the former Whirlpool Park.

One lawsuit, LaGrou vs. Whirlpool, filed in state court by Fremont’s Albrechta and Coble law firm, was later transferred to federal court in Toledo. The plaintiffs withdrew the lawsuit recently, reserving the right to file a new lawsuit in the future.

Mortensen and other attorneys filed a second lawsuit against Whirlpool in Toledo’s federal court. Warren Brown and other families affected by the cancer cluster filed the suit.

Whirlpool has filed a motion to dismiss the Brown lawsuit. Both sides are awaiting a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Carr, who is presiding over the lawsuit.

Mortensen said his environmental experts studied the 1,608-page report issued by Whirlpool.

PCBs, a dangerous carcinogen, were found in levels well above what the EPA considers acceptable, Mortensen said.

Benzo(a)pyrene, which causes cancer, was found in a concentration 86 times the accepted EPA level. High levels of three other suspected carcinogens, Benzo(a)anthracene, Benzo(b)flouranthene and Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, also were found in large amounts, Mortensen said.

He said Herb and Renee Farleym, who live just north of the park, are afraid to live there but have not been able to sell their home. The home’s previous owner developed cancer, Mortensen said.

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