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

John Harville

1952 - WHIRLPOOL purchased the Clyde Porcelain Steel/Bendix plant (which had burned in 1945 and been rebuilt)on a site where the Clydesdale Truck and before that the Elmore Car had been built - but until this year even Whirlpool didn't know its history in Clyde.

John Harville

lil dab... as demonstrated in your post, even people who 'know things' don't KNOW things.
On various sites 'know things' have given different dates for the closing of the Park - another 'perk' for employees that went the way of Whirlpool Day at Cedar Point. Regardless, Whirlpool Park was 'exclusive' for employees and their families - you didn't get in unless you knew somebody... and most of the Cancer Cluster kids were not 'connected' or are too young.

LynnGrant

@donutshopguy, BAHAHAHA, oh were you serious? You were serious. Ok, well first I am blackfoot. Blackfoot is a Native American tribe derived from the Sioux. Don't worry though, I do not blame you for taking my ancestors land. Second of all, I am not Catholic. I do not follow the Catholic religion, therefore, I am not really educated enough to comment on it or their religious crusades. I must have been sleeping that day in history class. So, I can admit that I do not know much about it and should NOT comment it. I do however think that a Catholic Priest that molests a child should be held accountable. I don't feel that they get to hide behind their cloth or their religion. Also, since the article wasn't about Native Americans OR the Catholic religion, I will reiterate my original comment. IF Whirlpool is responsible for the cancer cluster, they should be held accountable. They should at the VERY LEAST have to clean their mess up. You cannot just dump toxins and build a park over it. Also, if it were your loved one that suffered, you would want them to be held accountable too.

John Harville

IF...
...the PCBs were dumped AFTER being outlawed in 1977.
...the PCBs were dumped BEFORE Whirlpool sold the park.
...the PCBs can, by their very existence underground, cause cancer.
...the PCBs leeched into the groundwater or streams
...the residents in the immediate area have a higher incidence of the specific cancer.
...the PCBs were legally dumped BEFORE EPA, then can the 'dumper' be held liable?

John Harville

Who needs the EPA? Right?
Founded in December 1970, the EPA began introducing regulations and laws which Congress enacted for the protection of the environment...
...and young children.
Prior to the EPAs inception, corporations dumped whatever they wanted wherever they wanted - and many municipalities dumped raw waste into streams.
Remember the Burning River? Small streams to large rivers - to the Great Lakes - were unrestricted dump sites.
And let us not forget the 'dumps' where our parents took all kinds of trash to create 'landfill' with no restrictions on private farms. And what kinds of stuff went down drains and into septic tanks and private sewers that emptied into nearby streams?
If you have a hundred year old house, you might begin excavating in your back yard and find treasures from generations of 'burning barrel' sites when everyone burned trash at home.
Digging a trench to lay a water line, a landowner on SR 101 near Margaretta several years ago found skeletons later identified as Native American.
For centuries earth and water have been the 'best' places for ridding ourelves of waste. Who knows what lies beneath your house?

LynnGrant

Also, I don't care how big whirlpool is. I don't care who or how many they employ. If this were my kid, I would want answers too! Yes, cancer happens everyday. I have lost 2 family members to it. Truth is people, we all have cancer cells in our bodies, to be put in layman's terms. Whether or not they mutate is what determines if you get cancer. What determines if they mutate, well, a number of things, many of which are environmental. The questions is, is Whirlpool negligent. Well, I will leave that to people who are smarter than I to decide. I will refrain form making ignorant or insensitive comments. You hide behind your user names, but tell me, could you look the mother of one of these children in the eye and tell them, "people die from cancer everyday"? Most times we don't get a chance to determine what triggered the cancer, because there is a case here and a case there. That FACT that there is a cluster in this area tells us that SOMETHING is going on, AND we have a chance to correct it so that maybe, just maybe we can save another family the heartache. Really, all I want is for people on these sites and blogs is to stop spewing ignorance and THINK before you speak. Just because there is no face to see of the person reading it, does not mean that there isn't a heart.

nosey rosey

Whirlpool did nothing illegal. There were no laws in the 50's that said businesses couldn't do what they did and it was done all over the country. The taxpayers have paid enough money to try to soothe the emotions of the parents of the sick children. There will never be a cause found because there is not one to find. Even the most vocal of the parents has said that there will never be an answer.

The Big Dog's back

How do you know nosey? Were you there when they dump stuff?

BEHAPPY

What a shame~they also let some of their "local" workers treat some employees awful~is the water ok over there?

BEHAPPY

What a shame~they also let some of their "local" workers treat some employees awful~is the water ok over there?

BEHAPPY

Hmmm~why the double post? Why will it not let me edit?

jennyn1977

yes the water is ok here in clyde, has been tested many times.

BEHAPPY

I know~I was being sarcastic about the water~so many nasty employees there~most are from the immediate area : )

hillbilly15

Nother job for china
No epa over there

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

Justme...

Folks isn't this about finding the cause so it can be cleaned up and stopped? The concern shouldn't be who's fault it is, or whether they should pay a price. That can come later. The urgency is locating the problem (if there is a problem) and mitigating it to prevent more illness. A cluster stongly suggests there is a problem and not just coincidence.

John Harville

SAD STORY: The families' attorney said parents - especially mothers of the cluster kids - could have swam in the pool there (or other places) and absorbed the chemicals into their genetic codes and passed it to a child in utero. Imagine the pain of knowing you may have been responsible for your child's cancer. Racoon Creek runs near the closed Clyde Dump and EPA reported 'runoff' into the Creek... the Creek that supplies Racoon Creek Reservoir from which the City draws - and treats - its water supplies for generation...

TheScientist

This MIGHT be believable if we were talking about radioactive contaminants. PCBs and metals? No.

TheScientist

PCBs (especially in lowish concentrations like what was found during this investigation) are largely immobile. (Soil conditions have to be JUST EXACTLY right for them to vaporize within soil). Basically, if you weren't rolling around in this contaminated soil and eating it by the poundful, then you're fine. PCBs are an oil. Once they're in the ground, they are mostly unaffected by any water leaching. If they're present in groundwater, then that's where they were originally released. The bad thing about PCBs is that they are man-made and do NOT break down naturally. Once they're there, they have to physically be removed. This small amount of PCBs is NOT the cause of this cancer cluster. I wish it were though. :(

the office cat

Look at the picture of the alleged site near the basketball court. If you move the camera to the left about a hundred yards, you'll find a huge pile of asphalt, shingles, and other debris dumped by the Abdoos. Behind those 'just right' trees in the background are large piles of construction rubble, possible from Fremont Middle School as well as piles of broken asphalt/paving etc. Farther back on the property are similar piles of concrete, bricks, etc....not unlike that being dumped in a Green Springs neighborhood by Abdoo Wrecking.

the office cat

Jonathan Abdoo's attorney says Jonathan's father Robert Abdoo (of Robert Abdoo Construction of which Robert and Jonathan are listed as incorporators) told the attorney Jonathan has wanted to build a house there for years - and wants Whirlpool to make it residential safe.
Abdoo Brothers Demolition (David Wetzel Abdoo) lists the Whirlpool Park location - 1937 CR 181 - as its address but claims on its website to have no relationship to (Michael) Abdoo Wrecking which is involved in the construction debris dumping in Green Springs.

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