U.S. EPA: Whirlpool Park has high levels of PCBs, metals

Several families affected by the Clyde-area childhood cancer cluster have retained a victim's rights attorney after learning a local park may be at the center of the mysterious rash of illnesses.
Sandusky Register Staff
Nov 13, 2012

The families, including Wendy and Warren Brown, the parents of 11-year-old Alexa Brown who died of brain cancer in 2009, said in a statement late Tuesday night they're devastated a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation found high levels of PCBs and toxic metals in the soil at Whirlpool Park.

The park, located at Township Road 187 and County Road 181 in Green Springs, was opened in the 1950s by Whirlpool Corp. as a recreation area for families. It had a pool in addition to basketball courts and a playground. The park has since closed. It is no longer owned by Whirlpool Corp.

Several parents of cancer cluster children have previously said they spent time at Whirlpool Park before it closed. The families announced they would gather for a press conference at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Clyde Public Library to discuss the findings.

"Obviously, it is upsetting to learn that such significant amounts of poison sludge are dumped anywhere. But to either dump it in proximity or cover it over with a children's park and a swimming pool filled with water coming from the very spot where the dumping occurred is an outrage," said Alan W. Mortensen, a victim's rights attorney retained by the cancer cluster families, in a statement. "It calls into question what really was at the other dump sites and other clues that were overlooked or not discovered until the U.S. EPA stepped in to determine the cause of this cancer cluster."

(UPDATE at 11:04 a.m.) Whirlpool has provided the following statement:

“We appreciate the concerns of the community. We have been members of this community for more than 60 years and employ thousands of local residents.

"Since being notified by the USEPA of their test results, Whirlpool has worked diligently and persistently with the current owner of this property, his lawyer and have even solicited the help of the USEPA to gain access to the site to conduct appropriate surveys and additional testing in partnership with the state and federal environmental agencies. However, the property owner and his lawyer have denied all of our requests for access to the site under reasonable conditions.   

"We are hopeful that the voices of these families will encourage the property owner and his lawyers to allow Whirlpool onto the property to begin the site characterization in coordination with state and federal authorities. We are prepared to move forward immediately with the first steps of the evaluation once granted access to the property.”
 

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Register and read the U.S. EPA's report below.

Comments

luvblues2

Kill the only thing Clyde has going for it and it's welfare by a class action lawsuit.... typical.

Westend Homeown

so you would rather watch a bunch of innocent children become ill and die?

jennyn1977

they have looked into whirlpool park before,this is not new "news" many many of us were at whirlpool park growing up. they need to look into us adults that have cancer too, that lived in the clyde-green springs area growing up, not just our children now that live in the clyde-green springs area. i live here now and did growing up and i know plenty of us adults now that have cancer, so this is something that has been going on for years, not something new. yes it is sad that a lot of kids have cancer and have died from cancer in the last few years, but this has been an ongoing problem throughout many many years, not a new problem. i guess people care enough now to look into finding a reason, too bad they haven't cared enough years ago, to start looking!!

pepenik99

Why don;t you just get your own kids, family members, etc. and go over there and camp out; sleep under the stars....for a few days.......maybe you can make some newer news.

jennyn1977

@ pepenik99-i grew up in clyde, still live here with my kids. we all went to whirlpool park when we were kids, and if whirlpool park was the problem there would be a hell of a lot more cases, not just the kids in the clyde cancer cluster. this was in the paper months ago about whirlpool park, so why are they putting in here again? this is old news. hello maybe people should pay attention a little more here

John Harville

Yet no one is doing anything about the 'new' cluster being formed by toxins being dumped into a creek from the old paint factory which needs to have lots of asbestos removed. Owner won't do it. EPA and council won't force it.

kURTje

Like the lime plant in Gissonburg, so too this?

grandmasgirl

They need to look at the overall cancer rate, and what % of patients went to this park. I know MANY people who had or have cancer that NEVER went to this park. I understand the parents grief, but I also know of kids that spent days at this park and don't have cancer. I would be more apt to believe that it is the chemicals used in foods along with genetic make-up.

Justme...

I know many people who smoke and never got cancer. That doesn't mean smoking doesn't cause cancer. What you are apt to believe is just your gut feeling, not science. There is clearly a cancer cluster in the Clyde area - its a matter of figuring out where it is coming from.

John Harville

And a large number of adults had/died from this 'adult male' cancer. But no one is looking at those deaths... or the wind flow from the waste injection site in Vickery that in recent years has a record of accidental emisisons - including a large orange cloud that drifted over Clyde toward Green Springs and dropped particles on people...

starryeyes83

Who knows what that smoke does down the genetic line. Is it possible to skip a generation or of parents ( both ) who do in fact do or have done drugs in the past?

It may not affect them, BUT down the line when they have kids is it possible that residual effects will hurt the kids?

And please don't tell me there's no such thing as parents who don't do drugs or drink or smoke while pregnant or prior to. It's not always about the mother, either. I think stuff gets passed through from the father, too.

Someone tried that argument with me once and it doesn't wash.

I'm just posing the questions, I'll let you know- it alls- figure the rest out.

As they say, you gotta look at it from ALL possible angles.

T. A. Schwanger

I provide this as an FYI. Researched on-line. Prayers to the families having lost family members or potentially losing family members over this tragic and senseless occurrence.

•Sporadic cancers - these are cancers that occur by chance in individuals who have no known genetic risk factors and no significant family history. Approximately 60% of cancers are sporadic.

•Familial cancers - these are cancers caused by variants in multiple genes and the environment all working together. In this case, each genetic variant causes a slight increase in risk. The overall risk of developing cancer depends on the number of cancer risk genetic variants that a person inherits and what environmental factors interact with those genes. Although these cancers appear to cluster in families, they don’t follow the typical rules of inheritance.

•Hereditary cancers - these are cancers that are associated with a change in a single cancer susceptibility gene (like BRCA1 or BRCA2). These genes account for a very small percentage of all cancers. In fact, only 5-10% of breast and colon cancer cases are caused by changes in a single gene. Although everyone who carries a change in a cancer susceptibility gene does not get cancer, the risk is increased greatly, usually to 50% or higher. These types of genetic changes are passed on in an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern in families. This means that each child of an individual that carries a gene change in a hereditary cancer susceptibility gene has a 50% chance of inheriting the gene change

mikel

the question is: did whirlpool do this? was the ground contaminated prior to whirlpool getting in there? people forget that the gov't had very lax standards at one time and the companies must now pay the price. for example, the best thing going in the 40's-50's & 60's was asbesto's which was used by the blessing of everyone and now, look at all the lawsuits. another example is tobacco. the gov't actually put packs of 3 cigs in c-rations for the military and today the gov't claims it is the devil. how many people got cancer because the gov't promoted smoking? it is time to hold the gov't to higher standards.

i hope these people are not grasping at straws.

donutshopguy

mikel,

I agree.

The community wants to crucify a company for doing nothing illegal at the time and for not having a crystal ball to for see the future 60 years down the road.

Do you really believe the people who help made the decision wanted their children and grandchildren to play at that park if they knew what was to follow? Their kids played and swam there too.

John Harville

A lot of pre-EPA corporate dumping went on around Clyde. 50-ish adults remember playing in the creek next to the paint factory with all the "pretty green and yellow and blue stuff" they could pick up in their hands like modern-day slime.
New housing subdivisions are built on sites people know were pre-EPA 'legal' dumpsites - where tank trucks pulled onto the property at night and opened spigots. Most of the homes are 'shrinkwrapped' to be airtight
How many of the Cancer Cluster kids are children of parents who are lifelong residents? Is there a 'genetic carrier' possibility?
For years sludge from the old water treatment plant routinely was spread near the reservoir where houses now stand...
But... we don't need the EPA and regulations, right?

nosey rosey

The park was built in the 50's. If you based the number of illnesses in this so called "circle" to the park, the surrounding area should be a ghost town after all this time. Just another witch hunt for parents who can't come to terms that their kids got sick. Not everything has a reason.

Second Opinion

.

LynnGrant

I just LOVE the ignorance of some people. If Whirpool is responsible, they need to be held accountable. They don't just get to do what they want because they are a huge corporation. People really need to educate themselves on cancer before they speak (or type) as well. Please don't comment without educating yourself first.

John Harville

TIME OF THE 'CRIME' is the key. Erin Brockovitch declined to come to investigate - perhaps because Whirlpool, the Paint FActory, the Kraut Company, Clyde Cutlery, the Bendix Corporation - all performed completely legal dumping predating "Silent Spring" and the EPA which many one here and across the country claim is unneeded or too regulatory.

FlyBoy86

+1 John Harville

You are 100% correct. I don't think it could be put any other way.

John Harville

Some people just want a 'why' answered.
Like 'why' four teachers in the C-GS District had severe breast cancer within months of each other. But they didn't call themselves a 'cluster'.
Like 'why' the EPA and media never have investigated the adults who died of the same brain cancer in the same time frame as the Child Cluster.
Like 'why' the EPA and City are not requiring the owner of the old paint factory to clean up all the asbestos at the sight where kids are playing and adjacent to the same stream into which paint factory wastes were dumped years ago.
Like 'why' some people demonstrate their ignorance while decrying the 'ignorance of some people'.

donutshopguy

LynnGrant,

Should we all be held accountable for the pillaging of land from the American Indians? Should the Catholic Church be held accountable for the crusades?

If you are looking for accountability why only stick to Clyde? Please don't comment without educating yourself first.

jon491

why only stick to Clyde? Because this is about the Clyde cancer cluster.

John Harville

You think only a 'clyde' company could be at fault?
What about the nuclear waste deep injection wells at Vickery? 25 years ago OLD paid large settlements to landowners in the northern and eastern part of Sandusky County. And when a large orange cloude emitted from there a few years ago, the company stated they have 'accidental emissions' weekly -sometimes daily. Follow the air/wind patterns south and west across Clyde and Green Springs.
Actually Whirlpool Park is closer to Green Springs than Clyde...and strong rumor indicates the present owner is based west of Clyde but uses the site for a dump.

John Harville

Yes and Yes.
Some of the debris from Fremont Middle School is being dumped in Green Springs and surrounding areas as 'landfill'.

here in ohio

The manufacture of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
was stopped by the U.S. federal government in 1977
because of their harmful health effects and because
PCBs are extremely persistent and last for decades in the
environment.

FlyBoy86

The one thing people need to remember is that if this is the cause of the Cancer Cluster, before you start smiting one of the area's largest employers, give them a chance to make it right. What we consider a "Dangerous Good" today would not be considered a "Dangerous Good" in the past. Biggest example is lead paint.

Documentation as to what was dumped where in Sandusky County is a joke from what I know. Apparently there are still a few landfills that cannot be located. Only way to know what's down there is to get a Hazmat Excavation team to Whirlpool Park and get to the core.

Bottom line is, I hope for the parents sake that this site is the cause so future children will not be affected by this site as well as being able to find recognizable patterns for other sites across the US.

John Harville

Fly... subdivision builders in Clyde - and their clients - know or shoulda known they were digging and building in or near known dump sites,\.
Remember, please, that all the area sits on the Great Black Swamp with its ever-moving waters and 'stuff' close to the surface - even its official history notes the first settler chose his site because in many locations "digging just a coupla feet brought a clear bubbling spring.
Clyde High School is built in such a location - the new tennis courts couldn't be used for a year until they had a chance to 'settle'. The bus loop on the south side was filled and tamped and stoned on Friday waiting to pave on Monday... and the stone was gone on Monday morning, requiring a special cosntruction fabric to be laid before stone and paving. Extensive ditching was required for the soccer field and ball diamonds.
Nothing is staying where its buried in the entire area.
And Whirlpool Park is near Green SPRINGS!

tk

FlyBoy, Just how do you propose they "make it right" for someone who's child has suffered and died?

Lil DAB

Year Founded (in Clyde): 1955

Sales Range: Over $1,000,000,000

Employees: 50,000 to 75,000
http://start.cortera.com/company...

http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com/res...
There is no dispute that policies & guidelines are in place for manufacturing companies at the present.
But back in 1955 and the years following, there were many dumpsites around the Clyde Green-Springs area. Off the top of my head I believe 14 dump sites were tested the last couple years to address concerns of the cancer cluster. The Whirlpool park site has now tested positive for PCBs and Metals. I don't doubt at all that Whirlpool is cooperating.
My question is, when these dump sites were tested, how deep in the ground did the testing go? What was the temperature of the ground and/or atmosphere. Shouldn't it be tested in all seasons including the wet season? Did they test the runoffs into nearby creeks? (There are many.)
Furthermore, an investigation needs to go as far as interviewing residents and employees who have since retired and/or left the area that may "know things!" A few more passing years, those "witnesses" will no longer be living.

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