2005/04/18

Cancer in a company town

My grandparents visited a few days ago from McPherson,Kansas. And yet another of their friends has cancer.

The cancer rate in McPherson is significantly greater than the national average. What is different about McPherson? Not much. It is a mid sized town in the flat, agricultural area of Western Kansas. The surrounding farms lie over rich oil and gas deposits that are pumped and sold to energy companies, which refine it at McPherson.

A town with a refinery has a high rate of cancer when other towns in the region have about normal rates. My grandparents' doctor tells all the patients to drink only bottled water. And the tap water in McPherson tastes really good. Kind of sweet, but not really.

The general consensus is that the refinery is causing the cancer. The refinery has done some cleanup, but not too much.

The town is a company town, so the government can't really do much. I wonder how health crises in company towns are treated elsewhere?

1 Comments:

At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do state medical authorities feel that there is a statistical "cluster"? Is anyone trying to find out? What company?

 

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