Pratt & Whitney Named in First Lawsuit Filed Over The Acreage Cancer ClusterFeb 12, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
Acreage Filed Lawsuit Against Pratt & Whitney
Some residents of The Acreage have filed a class action lawsuit against Pratt & Whitney. Earlier this month, the Florida Health Department confirmed that a childhood cancer cluster exists in The Acreage.
According to wsnv.com, Pratt & Whitney owned the land that is now The Acreage about 50 years ago. It was used to test rocket engines, and since the 1950’s Pratt & Whitney has been storing toxic pollutants inside of a plant located near the community.
The residents of The Acreage have been concerned about a cancer cluster since several children living in close proximity to each other were diagnosed with brain tumors or brain cancer. Earlier this summer, residents’ concerns prompted the Florida Department of Health to begin a study of cancer rates in the area. The department’s eight month study found higher rates of brain tumors and brain cancer among children, especially girls.
Lawsuit Against Pratt & Whitney
The lawsuit against Pratt & Whitney was filed by four residents of The Acreage. It doesn’t explicitly blame the company for the high rates of cancer among children in The Acreage. However, the complaint does accuse Pratt & Whitney of negligence when dumping hazardous waste where the community now stands, and claims it failed to take adequate measures to prevent the escape of contaminants and other hazardous materials from its property. The lawsuit also points out that one of the chemicals stored at the nearby Pratt & Whitney facility is 1, 4-Dioxane, which the U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services considers as reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.
The plaintiffs, all of whom own homes in The Acreage, claim the presence of the cancer cluster has caused their property values to plummet. They want Pratt & Whitney to compensate residents for their declining home values.
Confirmation of the Cancer Cluster in the Acreage
Confirmation of the cancer cluster in The Acreage has also spurred residents to approach Governor Charlie Crist for help. According to cbs12.com, the governor’s office has called on the state Department of Environmental Protection to conduct more tests of well water at homes in the Acreage. On Thursday, representatives from the department were working on getting permission from homeowners to conduct the tests.
Tests that the state Department of Environmental Protection conducted last summer concluded that well water quality in The Acreage is “generally good,” despite some instances of elevated radiation that might stem from natural causes.
In addition, a task force made up of homeowners, elected officials, parents of children who’ve had cancer, and others is being set up to oversee the cancer cluster investigation.