Residents urged to action

Cancer cluster families are "the faces of what's happening in your community," attorney Charles Boyk tells forum audience.
Alissa Widman Neese
May 28, 2013


A "stained glass window effect" obstructs justice for five Clyde families who lost children to cancer, according to attorney Alan Mortensen.

When viewed separately, about 40 sick children, more than a dozen toxic dump sites and a large manufacturing plant may not seem conclusive of foul play.

But when banded together with support of recent investigations, it's difficult to claim the cases are merely coincidence, Mortensen said.

"People are trying to segment this into little pieces, claiming it doesn't make sense," he said. "When you put the pieces together and shine some light on it, it's a complete picture. It does make sense."

About a dozen individuals impacted in a series of cases known as the "Clyde Cancer Cluster" stood before about 200 people Monday night, eager to shed some light on the situation. The group and their attorneys hosted a well-attended meeting in Fremont Ross High School's gymnasium to offer information about the ongoing investigation.

Mortensen, a Utah attorney representing many families as they seek a class-action lawsuit against Whirlpool, the alleged source of the cluster, spoke for nearly a half hour. He then opened the floor for about an hour of questions and comments.

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About a dozen people spoke, many voicing frustrations about a lack of urgency, accountability and answers as children continue to suffer and die from the disease. They also questioned the safety of Clyde-Green Springs Schools, which has not been tested during investigations related to lawsuits.

"Someone has to have the guts to be accountable," said Clyde resident Linda Linder, a vocal audience member Monday night. "It hurts me so bad that people don't care about these children. This is unacceptable."

The most recent lawsuit, which the families filed in federal court in Toledo earlier this month, alleges benzaldehyde and possibly other toxins released or dumped by Whirlpool caused the death of five young people and sickened about two dozen others in the Clyde area. The allegations rely, in part, on the discovery of benzaldehyde in the attics of several homes where the affected children lived. An earlier lawsuit was filed in March in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court in Fremont.

Several individuals involved in the lawsuits debunked the notion they are simply trying to obtain money or put Whirlpool out of business at Monday's meeting.

"We're here to make the area safer, to prevent this from happening to someone else," said Clyde resident Dave Hisey, who has watched two of his three young children battle leukemia. "We have to get answers, and if a lawsuit is the only way to find on what's going on in this community, we have to do it."

Attorney Charles Boyk, who is also involved in the lawsuits, urged attendees to contact elected officials and seek action related to the cancer cluster. Boyk and Mortensen also collected information Monday from audience members wishing to test their homes for toxins.

"It's not about attorneys, it's not about Whirlpool, it's not about these people, it's about your community," Boyk said. "These people are just the faces of what's happening in your community. They have the right to answers and so do you."

Want to learn more?

Visit for more information about the Clyde cancer cluster lawsuits.



JW Brewer

What a load says the Voice From The 'Other' Attic. SR just can't get it right.

1. FOUR attics (including ours) and one other location were tested - that is 'several'?
2. We were told the levels in our attic were like three of the other four sites AND that the levels were minimal and of no danger.
3. Boyk said this process will be 5-10 years before resolved. By that time Clyde can be a ghost town.
4. Most everything Mortenson said Monday night is the exact opposite of what he and his paralegal Michael Wise have indicated in emails with me.
5. 'Contact your elected officials' - perhaps beginning with the Sandusky County Commissioners who employ Warren Brown as County Administrator (Brown is lead plaintiff in the lawsuit and most vocal - one could say the 'face' - of the Cluster parents.
6. WHO is the 'fifth' child who has died? How long has it been since there was a new case?
But far be it from the SR to bother with 'facts'. Call me Matt... you know who I am and you have my number.

Matt Westerhold

I don't have your number and I don't know who you are. Your criticism here lacks detail or specificity as to what you believe is inaccurate.


Stick it to Whirlpool! They need to pay BIG TIME!


Yeah, STICK to Whirlpool !

And then cry and whine when that Big Clyde Plant shuts its' doors to moves to Mexico...

Leaving 3 ,500 people with no Big Huge paycheck and bennies!

And the other businesses counting on that contract!!

Then who's gonna get stuck?


Yeah! Well at least no more kids will die!


No offense, but you can't get out of life alive! One is on the road to die right after birth, some get there a little sooner. You could be a health food fanatic your whole life and still walk in front of a truck!!

The Big Dog's back

Starry, why does it have to be either or? I say jail the management who allowed it to happen.


Because Big Dog... that's NOT the way a big corporation or life works, usually. Jail which management? the current one or the ones in charge 50 years ago?

And FYI: I don't work there nor am I affiliated with anyone who does...

Tom Jackson

JW Brewer,

I didn't write the story but since I'm the main reporter for this ongoing story I'll reply.

Yes, five attics count as "several."  It meets the dictionary definition.

Most of your other criticisms are just as unfair. How, for example, is the reporter supposed to know what Mortensen (not "Mortonsen" -- the reporter got it right and you didn't) said to you in his emails?



If the dust from Whirlpool has caused this then please tell me how/why thousands of their current and former employees haven't died from cancer.

Today's mantra is to always find out who we can pin items like this on so we can sue them.

The Big Dog's back

So if everyone doesn't get cancer it's not a problem then? Is murder a problem? How about Hospitals who leave surgical instruments inside someone? How about a car that has brakes done by a shop that are defective and the person goes on to kill or injure someone? Just because it didn't happen to you doesn't mean it didn't happen.


If and that is a HUGE if, Whirlpool is responsible, don't you think that this would encompass more than 5 or 6 people? Statistcally the numbers don't jive. Let's just that over all of those years there were 10,000 people employed. If you have 6 deaths that is .0006 chance of getting cancer. Not good odds at all.

The Big Dog's back

Do you know the cause of death of former employees?


OMG.... I am in agreement with big dog.....
This problem is the result of over a hundred years of pollution by numerous businesses. You can't take one little piece of information and use it to make a logical conclusion. This is bigger than the experiences of the 5 families referred to in the article and it goes way beyond Whirlpool.


But Whirlpool is specifically being called out. Cancer happens. No rhyme or reason. My dad, mom and sister had/has it. We lived by a stone quarry. Maybe the lime dust? Should we sue them?


They don't know who is responsible but they are going after the deepest pockets. It's a pathetic money grab.


I have a friend who lives in southern Ohio. Her son has cancer. I could have been sarcastic and asked her if she used a Whirlpool washer. Instead, I listened to her. She wanted to know why there is so much cancer in this country. She didn't ask why there was so much in her town. I believe that it is combined with the patient's genes and their environment. There are (or used to be) quite a few orchards in the Clyde area. How do you know this doesn't contribute to the problem.

The Big Dog's back



@ grandmas girl

Your friend asked a smart question. Enviromental is one . Think of all the chemicals ONE person comes into contact with on a daily basis. Household cleaners, food, water, beverages, beauty products, soaps, perfumes, body sprays etc.. the list is endless

Most people are around people who smoke either directly or indirectly. Many people have used illegal drugs over the course of 50 -60 years.. Who knows what that impact is.

Example: Who knows what the long term effects of cocaine use for a person back in the 70's what that does to the body's geneteic makeup over time and possible future offspring? Same with now. I'm not saying that's the truth I'm just putting that theory out there, Although, I'll probably get blasted for it at some point.

Here's another one : if it wasn't for Cancer and other things The BIG greedy Pharmaceutical companies would be OUT of business and not raking in billions of profit dollars every year, and THAT is why THEY will never find a "CURE" ... There are too many people out there getting rich off of the sick.

I'm not trying to be a downer ... Just a realist.

And yeah, I've had several members of my family get cancer some have survived and thrived , others haven't and some are still struggling.