Gainesville Residents Immediately Affected By Koppers Contamination Reject FDOH “Health Study”

21 Jul

TO:  E. Randall Merchant, Environmental Administrator, Florida Department of Health

Mr. Merchant,
I submit these comments on behalf of the multitudes of Alachua County residents whose lives have been damaged and even destroyed by Koppers contamination.  My remarks concern the so-called FDOH Health Consultation released June 6, 2011.
Your declaration that residents of neighborhoods surrounding the Cabot/Koppers Superfund Site have no increased cancer risk came as no surprise to us, only because we were forewarned by victims of other Florida Superfund Sites to expect misinformation tactics from your agency.  FDOH is notorious for practices such as rubberstamping lies and manipulated data and saturating local media with it to lull communities into a false sense of safety while performing damage control.
Fortunately, as in other polluted communities, the immediately affected residents here are not fooled by your transparent attempt to excuse your agency for decades of failure to protect Alachua County families from exposure to chemical contamination from Koppers.
We reject your attempt to pass off the review of old, famously inaccurate census data as a genuine health study, your citing of non-existent health consultations as evidence, and your convenient failure to address any of the variety of other maladies known to result from toxic exposure that are prevalent in our neighborhoods, including, but not limited to, immune system impairment, respiratory problems, thyroid conditions, ms, lupus, chloracne, persistent headaches and nosebleeds, phantom itch, birth defects, stillbirths, and miscarriages- a list too long to name in full here.
In the nearly thirty years that the Cabot/Koppers Site has worn the Superfund designation, your agency has never conducted an actual health study nor have you conducted any health consultations with affected residents.  Yet now, you glibly, negligently proclaim that “There is no evidence to suggest neighbors of the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site in Gainesville are at an increased risk of developing cancer.”  This type of propaganda and damage control by FDOH is irresponsible and a disgrace.
Your agency knows perfectly well that proper, valid health studies take years to complete.  They require thousands of people to be studied, tracking back over many generations, and must be designed and fully executed by scientists.  Gainesville’s citizenry is very aware that we’ve been handed junk science.
In conclusion, it is obvious that FDOH does not care about the many families that have had to abandon their homes for the protection of their children, or the young couples who have had to leave their homes after repeated miscarriages in hopes of starting their families safely elsewhere.  You continue to completely disregard the pain and stress suffered by residents struggling with cancers and other equally lethal health issues despite decades of public testimonials.
Therefore, the residents of Gainesville will have to conduct our own, real, health study.


Sandra Watts Kennedy


President, Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, Incorporated

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