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No Contamination Near Ohio Cancer Cluster

Fri, 11/01/2013 - 10:14am
The Associated Press

CLYDE, Ohio (AP) -- Whirlpool Corp. says extensive soil tests show no evidence of illegal dumping or widespread contamination in an area of northern Ohio where children were among dozens of people who have been sickened in a cancer cluster.

The company is pointing to the test results as evidence that one of its washing machine factories has no connection to the cancer cluster in Clyde, in eastern Sandusky County, according to company spokesman D. Jeffrey Noel.

Noel told The Toledo Blade that 328 groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment, and pool filter samples tested for 232 chemical compounds did not yield any unexpected surprises at the 27-acre site.

Nearly all were within acceptable levels for human exposure, he said, including sampling done in and around the pool, where the greatest number of people would have come in contact with the facility.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in an Oct. 30 letter to the Benton Harbor, Mich.-based appliance manufacturer that the company's method of testing and splitting samples with the federal agency was done according to regulations.

Contaminated soil near basketball courts appears to be from fill used to develop and improve the site. Whirlpool will be talking to the present site owner about a plan to remove it.

Whirlpool Corp. is asking a federal court in Ohio to throw out a civil lawsuit filed by the families. The company says the lawsuit linking the washing machine factory to the cancer cases is unfounded and irresponsible.

The families believe smokestacks from Whirlpool's factory sent a compound called benzaldehyde into neighborhoods where several of the children lived and were among the first diagnosed. Their lawsuit also accuses the company of dumping potentially cancer-causing waste at the now-closed park outside of the city just south of Lake Erie.

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