Clarendon residents present cancer cluster information

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(Host) A group of Clarendon residents discussed their concerns about a possible health risk in their community with local lawmakers. Clarendon FIRST stands for families Interested in Researching Sickness Together. The group formed earlier this year to look into what it believes is an unusually high incidence of cancer among townspeople.

VPR’s Nina Keck has more.

(Keck) Jackie Fenner is Clarendon FIRST’s co-founder. She says about 30 people attended last night’s meeting including local select board and school board members. Fenner says Senators Hull Maynard and John Bloomer and Representatives Judy Crowly and Joe Baker were also there.

(Fenner) “We wanted to present to our legislators via a power point presentation, our concerns, some of the facts we’ve come across with regard to some of the historical toxic pollutants in our area. And perhaps the related health issues.”

(Keck) Fenner says the incidence of non Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a cancer that affects the lymph nodes – are 11 times the national average and the incidence of leukemia in Clarendon is 19 times the national average. And she says a number of streets in the community have alarming cancer clusters.

(Fenner) “There’s 11 houses on one road and there’s 10 people who have cancer living on that road. And there are about 12 people that died from cancer that live on that road.”

(Keck) Clarendon representative Joe Baker says the meeting was a real eye opener for him and almost hit too close to home.

(Baker) “My wife – as of May of this year – she has been declared healthy. But she actually had the same disease these kids are getting – the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And I understand everything that the parents are going through and the brothers and sisters. I know what I went through and it gets personal.”

(Keck) Baker says he’ll do whatever he can to help Clarendon FIRST. Members of the group will present their data to the state Health Department next week.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck.

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