Holding a Polluter Accountable for a Brain Cancer Cluster in South Florida

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Radioactive waste that has seeped into swampland, canals, and drinking water in a small south Florida town, has caused a cluster of brain tumors and cancer among children.

Sharon Lerner reports on radioactive waste that has seeped into swampland, canals, and drinking water in a small south Florida town, and how it has affected public health. An investigation turned up 13 brain tumors in Acreage kids between 1994 and 2007; an official cluster consisted of just three girls who were diagnosed with brain cancer between 2005 and 2007. Based on the calculations in the report from the Florida Department of Health, a girl’s chance of getting a brain tumor in the Acreage was five and a half times what it was in the rest of Florida. The cancer can be linked to one of the largest national defense contractors in the US—currently holding $10 billion in government contracts—and Lerner examines the difficulty of getting justice in such cases through the courts. Lerner’s article “Brain Cancer Cases Shot Up In this Florida Town—Is a Defense Contractor to Blame?" is in the November 3, 2014, issue of The Nation.