By Rachel Lindenmuth
WNEP, © 2006

Wednesday, Janaury 18, 2006, UPDATED 11:55 p.m.

Is there something beneath the ground in parts of Schuylkill County that is causing cancer? The state conducted a study to find the answer. Those who have seen copies of the newly-released study said the investigation leaves more questions than answers.

Les and Betty suffer from a rare form of blood cancer, polycythemia vera . Their doctor has told them the chances of a couple having it is one in a million.

“He can’t understand why we should have it in the same family. He feels that there is a problem through the valley here,” Kester said. “I don’t know if this will go into remission. This is a different kind of cancer,” added Betty.

She believes their cancer is linked to tons of toxic waste that was dumped about a mile from where they live near McAdoo. The site of the former McAdoo Associates toxic waste site has since been cleaned.

The state study found the rate of some cancers in the surrounding area is higher than the state average, but the study was not designed to determine if there is a link betwen the cancers and what was stored at the waste site.

“Everybody is still hunting for the smoking gun and I don’t believe that study has discovered that,” said State Representative David Argall of the 124th District. He got the state to do the cancer study. “Now the question will be are there other avenues we should ask them to investigate based on what we’re now learning.”

At a meeting in Hometown Wednesday night, a local doctor proposed more research to determine if the cancers are linked to the toxic waste site. The state said such research would have to be done by the National Institutes of Health or by the academic community.