Your Voices


We want to hear from YOU. We want to hear the voices  that are effected from Koppers area, and or living in Koppers area. We value your voices . Please send us your words, drawing, pictures and story to koppersgainesville@gmail.com

So-Called “Cancer Study” of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Koppers Superfund Site

Attn: Editor, Gainesville Sun

I write regarding the Sun’s coverage of the recent so-called “cancer study” of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood.

As a past Hospital Director of Nursing, as well as Director of Investigational Drug Studies, I am fully aware, through my education and extensive experience, how health studies should be designed, conducted, and so how their results should be determined and reported.

The study was conducted in a manner that can only be considered unscientific, based upon data that cannot be considered complete or accurate. The Sun’s unequivocal headline screamed “No cancer cluster near Koppers”. It was, therefore, biased and misleading, since Florida’s Department of Health (DOH) never conducted a real health or cancer study.

For starters, residents affected by the Koppers site include many more neighborhoods than just Stephen Foster, which the local, state, and federal spin-doctors just love to focus on to beguile and mislead the rest of Gainesville’s citizenry at large.

Stephen Foster and other residents, past and present, have been dealt a grave disservice by the Sun and the DOH.  We have never been asked directly about our health, nor in any meaningful numbers. Past residents have not been tracked, nor have short- or long-term renters been sought out, or included.

The Sun reported that Anthony Dennis had determined, through study, that there were no greater risks of residents getting cancer in the Koppers’ area than in similar areas not near toxic Superfund sites. This type of propaganda and damage control by the DOH is irresponsible and disgraceful.

All in all, the DOH’s so-called “study” is nothing but a chart compiled from inadequate, 11 year-old census data. The data came from census reports through the year 2000 and references were made concerning use of tumor registry reports.  With regard to census reports, many residents, myself included, provided only the minimum information required by law.  Moreover, many residents do not return their surveys.  Information derived from such census reports are unscientific and are, therefore, in no way, “cancer studies”.

Although reference was made to Tumor Registry reports, such data were not provided in the DOH report.  In my professional capacity, I can attest to the fact that Tumor Registries are inaccurate, ignored, underfunded and, therefore, are highly flawed when attempting to draw useful conclusions from them.  It is widely known that the Joint Commission and the State Surveyors spend little time on Tumor Registry systems, policy and procedures.  Indeed, in past surveys, the phrase “Tumor Registry” was never used by either group in any survey with which I was intimately involved.

Proper and valid health studies take years. They require thousands of people to be studied, tracking back over many generations, and must be designed and fully completed by scientists. Bottom line, Gainesville’s citizenry have been handed “junk science” and the Sun has blithely aided and abetted the furthering of this propaganda.

Anne Lowry
Gainesville

___________________________________________________

Statement to City Commission by Roy Geiersbach on Koppers Gainesville Superfund, February 2011

My name is Roy Geiersbach from the Stephen Foster Neighborhood.
Colon, lung, kidney, thyroid, skin, pancreas, liver just to name a few of the cancers that are common in our neighborhood.

Children born with missing parts such as lungs, kidney, stomach, short limbs and cleft pallet. Miscarriages and still births are also a problem.

I and others, and some whom are now dead, have testified before you asking for help over and over for years.
I don’t understand what YOU DON’T GET! about the fact that we are dying here! MANY HAVE DIED MANY MORE ARE SICK AND MANY MORE WILL DIE!

CALCIUM DEPLETION IN BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, WHERE YOUR BONES EASILY BREAK, AND WHICH IS CAUSED BY CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION AS STATED BY SOME OF MY DOCTORS, IS A COMMON PROBLEM IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. MANY HAVE THIS PROBLEM WHICH I ALSO HAVE, ALONG WITH MULTIPLE CANCERS AND OTHER ILLNESSES.

I ask where is your compassion and humanity? You, our elected officials, have not spoken out in our defense. We are dying here!  When will you stand up for us?   We need and have been asking for your help!  And yet you STILL don’t hear us.

We don’t want excuses and please no more passing the buck.  We need action in our defense, not worries that Beazer is going to sue the EPA or that the EPA won’t grant your request SO WHAT!  THAT IS THEIR PROBLEM NOT YOURS.  You need to ask for the best possible resolution and clean-up, for our city and its residents, especially the residents of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood.

COMMISSIONER POE YOU HAVE NOT REPRESENTED YOUR DISTRICT WELL AT ALL YOU HAVE BEEN M-I-A, I REPEAT M-I-A! ON THIS KOPPERS ISSUE.  WHEN IT COMES TO THE RESIDENTS THAT LIVE IN THE INFECTED AREAS!  You have not defended us or spoken on our behalf or even called us to get our perspective.  It is as if we don’t matter, we are just collateral damage to you.

This is criminal, you our elected officials should be ashamed of yourselves. you continue to allow this massive travesty to go on just like your other predecessors and not demand permanent relocation of the affected residents.  You are keeping us in contaminated homes!

FROM ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THAT HAVE AND ARE INVOLVED IN THIS ISSUE.  YOU HAVE ALL PASSED THE BUCK!!! AND SHAMEFULLY CONTINUED TO DO SO WHILE WE SUFFER,  ARE SICK AND DYING.
TOO MANY ARE LIVING IN HIGHLY CONTAMINATED HOMES THAT ALL OF YOU, CRIMINALLY IGNORE.
REALTORS ARE NOW TELLING US THAT OUR PROPERTIES ARE UNSALABLE AND THEREFORE THEY ARE WORTHLESS PROPERTIES  AND WON’T LIST THEM.  SO PROPERTY TAXES SHOULD  BE NULL AND VOID.  YET YOU DEMAND  HIGH TAXES FROM US.

SOME OF OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE NOT BEEN RESPONSIBLE AND ARE NOT RESPONDING IN THE APPROPRIATE MANNER THAT THEY SHOULD IN  THE DEFENSE OF THE SICK, DYING RESIDENTS LIVING IN THE TOXIC CHEMICALLY INFECTED AREAS.

THE FIASCO OF THE EPA’S MEETING ON AUGUST 5TH AT THE STEPHEN FOSTER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!
I ALONG WITH THE REST OF MY NEIGHBORS, WE THE IMMEDIATELY AND MOST AFFECTED RESIDENTS WERE CRIMINALLY DISENFRANCHISED AND NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK BY THE EPA.  THIS WAS AN OUTRAGEOUS, BLATANT, AND DISGUSTING, CRIMINAL SILENCING OF THE PEOPLE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS.

The EPA’s specially selected group and speakers, most whom do not live in the Neighborhood and DO NOT HAVE OUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART AND DO NOT SPEAK FOR US! were allowed to speak for the full 2 hours of that meeting.  When I went to speak the microphone was taken away from me by Ms. Latonya Spencer.
When our President, Mrs. Sandra Kennedy, went to speak she was refused the microphone.  She was them overcome with emotion because she was not allowed to speak on our behalf.

IT IS OBVIOUS THAT YOU DON”T WANT TO HEAR FROM US!  But you will have to, because we won’t back down.
I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime, especially as a Vietnam Vet.  I never thought this would happen to me in this country.  This is CRIMINAL, YOU WILL NOT SILENCE US!  Is this a Democracy?  Are we a Third-World country?
No one who lives outside of our neighborhoods that is not sick, ill dying, living in highly-contaminated properties whether renter or home owner speaks for us!

Many people shouted from the audience to be allowed to speak, even some members of the specially selected group were heard shouting to let them speak.

Many rushed to the front and demanded to speak, Mr. James Miller stood up from his seat and shouted also along with everybody else but he was the only one that was threatened by the police presence that was there at the request of the EPA according to Ms. Spencer.  Mr. Miller is the only African American that stood up.  One wonders if this is why he was the only one that was threatened by the Police.

Almost 30 years of this is enough!  We demand a Criminal Investigation and I hope that you, Mr. Poe, will do something for a change on our behalf.  We demand that you write a letter of complaint to Mr. Meiburg at Region 4 EPA about the injustice that we had to suffer at the hands of Mr. Scott Miller, Mr. David Keefer and Ms. Latonya Spencer.  They should all be fired.

We want a copy of the letter when you send it.  We also want you to stand up to the EPA in defense of your own neighborhood. It is time that you do so!  And that request goes to all of the commissioners here tonight.
WE SHALL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT, WE SHALL BE HEARD IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.  WE SHALL PREVAIL!  Thank you

_______________________________________________

C.J.
I’ve lived 30m from the boundary fence for over 15yr in one of the most-affected areas… I have never been informed of any issue, except by Maria Parsons’ efforts to mount a class-action lawsuit to address our health concerns in 2009. I’ve followed every bit of information I’ve been given, called every phone number, etc. Yet, I cannot even get on a mailing list nor call list: every scant piece of [non-]information I’ve received has just been left on my doorstep by the Dept of Health. My yard was marked for sampling, but no sampling was ever done. Some party did mail notification to my landlady, at the wrong address, telling about intended sampling that was never done. Now I see there is a “competing” activist group trying to speak for me, in theory, yet none of them wants to speak to me in person. I think I’ve managed to identify the group (this one) that is actually trying to help affected people, rather than the more high-profile group that is taking all available grant money and paying it back to themselves. Thank you, Maria and fellow residents of the neighborhood, for being true advocates. This is such a serious issue; I am now sick with cancer; it makes me even more sick that the issue is being split up by a community that should be working together. Also, I know that the DoH “health study” is nothing but an insulting, dangerous ruse because DoH has never asked me about my health status, even though I called them begging to give my input.
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2 Responses to “Your Voices”

  1. Christa Jenssen September 25, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    I’ve lived >30m from the boundary fence for over 15yr in one of the most-affected areas… I have never been informed of any issue, except by Maria Parsons’ efforts to mount a class-action lawsuit to address our health concerns in 2009.
    I’ve followed every bit of information I’ve been given, called every phone number, etc. Yet, I cannot even get on a mailing list nor call list: every scant piece of [non-]information I’ve received has just been left on my doorstep by the Dept of Health. My yard was marked for sampling, but no sampling was ever done. Some party did mail notification to my landlady, at the wrong address, telling about intended sampling that was never done.
    Now I see there is a “competing” activist group trying to speak for me, in theory, yet none of them wants to speak to me in person. I think I’ve managed to identify the group (this one) that is actually trying to help affected people, rather than the more high-profile group that is taking all available grant money and paying it back to themselves.
    Thank you, Maria and fellow residents of the neighborhood, for being true advocates. This is such a serious issue; I am now sick with cancer; it makes me even more sick that the issue is being split up by a community that should be working together.
    Also, I know that the DoH “health study” is nothing but an insulting, dangerous ruse because DoH has never asked me about my health status, even though I called them begging to give my input.

  2. SM May 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I am just learning about this as my neighbor’s house, west of campus, was selected to participate in a US EPA inspection. I guess they are now trying to determine whether this pollution has traveled further than the 2 mile radius. Anyhow, I grew up on NW 3rd street, two blocks from Koppers. My friends and I used to play in the woods behind the plant as there was no fencing to separate the plant from the neighborhood. We loved the area specifically because you could find the best blackberries. We also played regularly in the Hogtown Creek which borders the Kopper’s property. So, I’m very concerned for my family. My siblings and I are now in our thirties and have an array health and neurological problems. Here’s a few: ovarian issues, infertility (3+ miscarriages), sensory nerve integration problems, learning difficulties etc. My mother also has so many problems that doctors have not be able to figure out the cause, I am now convinced it is link to living in the Foster neighborhood.

    I need to find out more.

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