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Moss Point Residents Want To Know If Industrial Toxins Are Causing Cancer

By Rhonda Miller | Published 18 Jun 2012 06:47pm | comments
Gary Allen of Moss Point

Moss Point residents want the state to investigate whether industrial chemicals may be causing cancer and other health problems. Mississippi officials say there’s no obvious link, but as MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports a Louisiana chemist says her tests show a connection.

"...and it releases 10 tons of toxic chemicals into the air on annual basis and they consist of carcinogens and mutagens."

Chemist Wilma Subra says industrial toxins have been contaminating soil, water and air in Moss Point for decades.  Subra said Saturday in Pascagoula the toxins she found in soil and water samples are known to cause illness.

"From the industrial facilities, it’s a lot of carcinogens like formaldehyde, methal ethyl ketone, epichlorohydrin, the kinds of chemical used in resin manufacturing that are very, very toxic."

Subra says contamination that washed ashore with Hurricane Katrina made more people sick with headaches, skin rashes, kidney problems, bone disease, asthma and cancer.

But Mark Williams of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says the state continuously does monitoring and clean-up.

"We have not seen this tremendous widespread contamination that is alleged to have been washed in from Katrina. There were contaminants in lagoons. You had some lift stations in some of the cities that went down, so we saw some discharge of seweage that we had to deal with after Katrina. EPA, we did a lot of work with EPA after Katrina, in looking at hazards that were along the coast."

But 49-year-old Moss Point native Gary Allen says too many people are sick. His brother died of lung cancer, even though he never smoked, and his father has cancer.  Allen says he has a degenerative bone disease, and he and his two nephews are unable to have children.

"Something’s in the water, OK. I married the woman I loved and wanted children with her, but unable to have them. The rest of my family is dying off from cancer. I’m losing everybody."

A health department spokesman said while the overall incidence of cancer in Jackson County from 2005 to 2009 is higher than the state rate, there’s no indication it's caused by a common source of exposure.





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