By Bob Reynolds
WNEP News, © 2006

October 6, 2006

Some help is on the way for those who live around a former toxic waste dump in Schuylkill County. Federal investigators hope to find out if the site is causing cancer in the area.

Betty Kester is a cancer victim who said she has her share of health problems. “I would like some answers for the children of the area, the next generation so they don’t have the problems that we have,” Kester said.

“At my age it’s not that important but it might be important to save some other people,” said Barney Kester added.

The Kesters have a rare form of blood cancer called polycythemia vera.

“We’re holding our own but we’re on pills, medication, but we have our bad, bad days too,” Betty said.

The Kesters believe their cancers may have been caused by tons of toxic waste illegally dumped in an area along Route 309. The mess has since been cleaned up.

Some cancer victims in the area have been told by state officials there is no link between the cancers and the toxins.

“Well I’m not satisfied with that so I’ve asked the Centers for Disease Control to do a study,” said U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. The senator, also a cancer survivor, wants answers. “When I hear people are being exposed to cancer and I don’t know how I got mine and it makes me madder than hell frankly.”

The site of the toxic waste dump is now behind a fence. The federal government has started the process of collecting medical records but there is no word on when they may have some answers.