Jessica Hammer's eight year old son Austin also fell ill with a tumor. He is now being treated at St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis. Pharmacist Steve Erickson shared his concerns,
"You take the first victim, you take the second victim and you look at each other and you say, 'Whoa! What do we have in common? Then you add the third one and the fourth one. I'm sure if I was one of the diagnosed, I would not think it was coincidence. Thank God."
Not surprisingly, many in the town don't want the cancer cluster theory to be publicized. Others hope someone can intervene and tell town residents why the recent increase in brain tumors. Doctors report "cancerous" tumors to the Health Department by law. Fortunately, most of the tumors in Cameron are benign. As a result, there are no official agency statistics. So what do all of the victims appear to have in common? It is believed that all of the diagnosed victims regularly drank city water. However, they also all ate food and breathed air so that in itself does not establish causation. Nevertheless, a local reservoir which serves as a source of drinking water, may be a good place to begin an investigation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may choose to look at any possible runoff near the reservoir and any possible contamination from nearby livestock.
An insulation manufacturer used to be located on the edge of town. That is a possible source worth investigating as is investigation into local use of pesticide use and other chemicals. The city is not jumping to any conclusions and neither should readers of Legal Pub. It may be just an anomaly or an unexplained cluster. But the city will look into it. Apparently, the city clerk is one of those recently diagnosed with some sort of brain tumor. The Department of Natural Resources has collected air, water and soil samples.
Perhaps it is time fro Cameron to bring in Jon Lester as a reliever. Based on his past performance, one can expect that he can set cancer down swinging once again.
Update 6-28-08: Apparently, State regulators will examine Rockwool Industries former manufacturing plant as a possible source of environmental contaminants. Whether that caused the tumors is not known, but it is felt to be a good starting point for the investigation. The plant apparently produced fiber insulation at one time but closed down over twenty years ago. The city bought the building and leased it from 1992 to 2003 to Midwest Hanger. Midwest made coat hangers. The plan to investigate this site was discussed recently at a community meeting. Apparently, 11 area residents have been afflicted with tumors since 2002. Stay tuned. Nothing is for certain yet!
Update 7-4-08: Fundraiser for Cameron Victims? Legal Pub received an email from a St. Joseph reporter, Nancy Hull which is worth sharing:
Hi, I write for the regional newspaper that covers Cameron, Missouri - the St. Joseph News-Press in St. Joseph, Missouri.
I saw your comment here ... and am wondering what kind of response you've received about the idea for a fundraiser for the people of Cameron. Is anything in the works? Just curious.
Thank you. Nancy
For those interested in helping the unfortunate folks in Cameron (including Jon Lester) it would be great if you would contact the web site: stjoenews-press.com or email Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org