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Fort Detrick Covering Up Cancer Cluster, Grieving Father Alleges

Sep 19, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP
Cancer Cluster

Groups Want Residents To Blame Fort Detrick

Two groups - the Kristen Renee Foundation and Fighting for Frederick - claim they have been in contact with more than 40 current and former employees at Fort Detrick Army Base near Frederick, Maryland, who have provided evidence that soil and water in and around the base was contaminated by toxic chemicals.  The groups are urging people who blame their cancer on Fort Detrick to file claims against the U.S. Army under the federal Tort Claims Act.

Randy White, the founder of the two groups, established them after his 30-year-old daughter died from cancer in 2008.  His ex-wife was diagnosed with renal cancer in 2010 and later died.  He blames their deaths on toxic contamination from Fort Detrick.

For decades Fort Detrick was the site for the Army’s biological weapons program. According to The Washington Post, Fort Detrick’s Area B was used for Agent Orange testing, as well as for buried disposal of a number of contaminants including drums containing organic solvents such as tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE),  all of which have been associated with cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.   In April 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added Fort Detrick Area B Groundwater to the National Priority List (NPL) based on PCE and TCE detections in offsite drinking wells.

Full Disclosure Needed

At a news conference last week, White accused the U.S. Army of covering up health risks associated with Fort Detrick.

“Fort Detrick needs to have full disclosure,” White said during a news conference at the W Hotel in Washington last week. “They’re lying. They lie. They cover up and they need to be open about what they’re doing.” “Fort Detrick needs to have full disclosure,” White said during a news conference at the W Hotel in Washington last week. “They’re lying. They lie. They cover up and they need to be open about what they’re doing.”

White, who is being represented by Parker Waichman LLP, plans to file a mass tort lawsuit against Fort Detrick under the federal Tort Claims Act.    He urged others to do the same.

"We are bringing all of the victims together and we are asking them to follow along and file suit against Fort Detrick," White said at a news conference last week.

According to ABC News2.com, White said a year-long investigation by the  Kristen Renee Foundation and Fighting for Frederick found a startling number of people with cancer living in that area. There are 22 on Kemp Lane, 42 on Rocky Springs, and 60 on Shookstown Road.

At least 80 people have filed claims with the Army so far, saying  Fort Detrick contamination contributed to their cancer. 

The Maryland Health Department has not found any link between Fort Detrick and cancer.  The Army says it is investigating, and denies a cover-up.

 

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