Contaminated Johnson County Homes Causing High Rates of Cancer in Children

Synopsis

  • According to National Cancer Institute statistics, rates of blood and brain
    cancer for Indiana children living in Johnson County continue to rise.
  • Indiana Health Department records show the county that sits south of Indianapolis
    had 111 cases of cancer in people younger than 20 between 1999 and 2013
    and in the last decade, at minimum, 50 children have been diagnosed.
  • Local news outlets are reporting on the issue and say parents have been
    working with a nonprofit group and an Indianapolis environmental engineering
    firm to conclude that environmental issues related to dangerous levels
    of toxic chemicals such as radon, tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene
    have been found in the air of several Johnson County homes.
  • Environmental experts say the issue might not only impact individuals and
    children in Johnson County, but likely communities struggling with contamination
    throughout the whole state of Indiana.

Johnson County Homes Found to Be Contaminated with Harmful Cancer-Causing Toxins

Dozens of children in Johnson County, almost half in the Town of Franklin,
have been diagnosed with rare forms of blood and brain cancer over the
last 10 years. Sadly, some have even died from their illnesses. The increase
of cancer cases mimics National Cancer Institute and Indiana Health Department
data that shows the county had 111 cases of cancer in people younger than
20 between 1999 and 2013. Since, numbers have and are expected to continue
in a rising trend.

On Monday, July 16, two independent groups who have been working with Johnson
County families since 2014 to identify the potential environmental links
behind the possible cancer clusters, released alarming investigative findings
from a June 20 sampling of living rooms, kitchens, basement or crawl spaces
of more than a dozen homes identified for and open to the testing. New
Jersey-based nonprofit Edison Wetlands Association and Mundell & Associates,
an environmental engineering firm located in Indianapolis, tested the
air of 14 homes in about a 5-mile radius of the former Amphenol Corporation
and Franklin Power Products polluter sites. Here are some of the findings
released and recently reported by local news outlets:

  • Many families are being exposed to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals
    in the air of their homes.
  • Several of the homes tested more than 10 times the state’s recommended
    contamination levels for toxic materials.
  • Outdoor levels and high toxin concentrations were found in the kitchens
    and living rooms of other homes and indicate continued serious problems
    for residents.
  • Six homes had radon levels that exceeded the Indiana Department of Environmental
    Management’s (IDEM) Residential Indoor Air Screening Level.
  • Three homes exceeded the levels for volatile organic compounds such as
    tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, known as PCEs and TCEs.
  • Samples collected from the kitchen in one home showed levels of TCE 18
    times the residential level and nearly five times the commercial level.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have listed these substances
as cancer-causing compounds to humans and potentially deadly to populations
highly exposed to them. The toxic substances can cause an individual lethal
harm if it enters the body quickly through inhalation, the most common
route of exposure.

More Support Needed for Continued Testing and Research

Three years ago, Johnson County community families requested for several
Indiana state agencies to investigate the cause for the illnesses and
for a possible “cancer cluster”, or a greater-than-expected
incidence of a particular cancer within a population group and demographic
area. While some areas were investigated, most outside environmentalists
agree not enough has been done to make conclusive judgments on the safety
of the community’s exposure to the contamination. The groups say
a larger sampling of homes would provide a better picture as to the scope
of the issue, but the most recent results should maximize awareness and
concerns within the community and prompt swift action by the Indiana Department
of Environmental Management and regulators at the Indiana State Department
of Health. The consulting groups say they fear the issue might not only
impact families in Johnson County, but likely communities struggling with
contamination throughout the whole state of Indiana where similar systems
are operating.

Identifying Cancer in Children Through Symptoms and Screenings

American Cancer Society (ACS) reports say although the rate of childhood
cancers has increased over the decade due to environmental factors, they
are still rare. And without a preferred recommended screening test to
find cancer in children who don’t carry an increased known risk,
many early cancer symptoms can go unnoticed or remain difficult to recognize
as they mimic many less serious childhood illnesses, infections or injuries.
It’s important for a child’s doctors, parents, friends or
relatives of children with heightened exposure to areas known to be hazardous
to seek out any unusual signs of illness or symptoms that do not go away, such as:

  • An unusual lump or swelling
  • Unexplained paleness and loss of energy
  • Easy bruising
  • An ongoing pain in one area of the body
  • Limping
  • Unexplained fever or illness that doesn’t go away
  • Frequent headaches, often with vomiting
  • Sudden eye or vision changes
  • Sudden unexplained weight loss

ACS suggests if your child has any of these symptoms, you have them be
seen by a doctor immediately so that the cause can be found and treated,
if needed. Toxic exposures, including the alleged findings in Johnson
County, could also cause a person or child to develop:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma and respiratory tract damage
  • Blindness
  • Damage to the organs
  • Death
  • Neurological damage, memory and concentration problems
  • Reproductive system injuries
  • Skin damage, rashes and scarring

In addition to cancer, illnesses related to hazardous toxin exposure can lead to:

  • Aplastic anemia
  • Asbestosis
  • Chemically induced asthma
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Liver failure
  • Lung disease
  • Mesothelioma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • RADS (Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome)
  • Silicosis

Families, especially those with young children, should not have to live
with the consequences of a life exposed to toxic and hazardous chemicals.

Call Wagner Reese For a Free Consultation

If you fear your family has been exposed to the hazardous pollutants in
Johnson County, or any other area of the state, and sustained an injury
or illness we can ensure the responsible parties are held accountable
for any related physical injuries and loss of life, lost wages and income,
medical expenses, rehabilitation or physical therapy costs, and pain and
suffering. Most often these damages are caused by the negligent toxic
exposure or reckless conduct of an individual or company.

Contact an attorney at Wagner Reese at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free
consultation. You can also connect with us by
submitting our online form and our attorneys will promptly review your information.