Randy White, a Tampa, Florida pastor who lost his 30-year-old daughter to a brain tumor in 2008, believes she was a victim of toxic contamination from Fort Detrick, Maryland. The foundation that bears her name, the Kristen Renee Foundation, claims to have uncovered more than 1,000 cases of the disease so far among families living within miles of the U.S. Army facility. White, whose family has been stricken by cancer on more than one occasion, believes environmental contamination from <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Fort-Detrick-Maryland-Cancer-Cluster-Lawsuit">Fort Detrick has created a cancer cluster, and has promised to take the base to court, if he must, to prove it.
“There’s a long, drawn-out, hard battle, but it’s one that I’m willing to fight for and not just for my daughter but for all the people that don’t have the finances and don’t have the voice,” White told AOLNews last August.
According to a report from The Washington Post, Fort Detrick was the site of Agent Orange research from the 1940s into the 1960s. Fort Detrick’s Area B was used for Agent Orange testing, as well as for buried disposal of a number of contaminants including biological materials, test animal carcasses, radiological tracer materials, phosgene cylinders, and drums containing organic solvents such as tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE). 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. The Army only recently finished capping six old dump sites in Frederick, Maryland, AOLNews said.
Agent Orange, TCE and PCE have all been linked to various cancers, including leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and respiratory cancers.
White’s daughter, Kristen Renee, who he claims was never sick a day in her life, succumbed to a brain tumor in April 2008. Just weeks after her funeral, her sister, Angie, was diagnosed with a rare type of stomach cancer. In 2010, his ex-wife was diagnosed with advanced renal cancer.
“At that point, the doctors of (H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute) told us that this was not genetic by any means,” White told the Frederick News-Post last July. “When they told me it was environmental, I immediately put all of my efforts into finding out what happened, why it happened, etc. Which brought me back to Frederick where they grew up.”
White has since spent $250,000 of his own money through the Kirsten Renee Foundation to research cancer trends in the communities around the base. He is convinced the area is the site of a cancer cluster, and that Fort Detrick is to blame.
The foundationâ€™s own survey has tabulated 400 cases of cancer among residents living within two miles of White’s former home in Frederick. It claims to have counted around 1,100 within four miles of Fort Detrick.
Officials from Fort Detrick, not surprisingly, deny any link between activities on the base and cancer rates in the community. Earlier this year, the Maryland Health Department conducted a review of cases in the Maryland Cancer Registry from 1992 to 2008, and declared there was no clear evidence of a cancer cluster around Fort Detrick.
White and the activists working have not been swayed.
“Right now we have 1,100 victims who have had or have cancer within a four-mile radius of Fort. Detrick,” Rachel Pisani of the Foundation told WUSA news this past March. “Have you looked at just the houses surrounding Area B? For instance, if you look at the 36 houses surrounding Area B, you will find that 33 of the 36 have or have had cancer, and you will also find that is most likely not in the data that you’re looking at.”