Baytown Man Claims Dioxin Dump the Likely Cause of His Cancer

Old Glory waving and a "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker - at Sam Braun's house in Baytown clues are pretty easy to find that he's a die-hard patriot.

But these days Sam says his nation, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency has done plenty to disappoint.

 "I feel like the government is actually on the side of big business," said Braun.

You see, ten years ago Sam was forced to retire from his job at Exxon after being diagnosed with the blood disease known as Multiple Myeloma.

"One in 100,000 people get it, so it's a very rare cancer," said Braun.

For the grandfather of three it's been a battle to stay alive ever since.

"I've had two stem cell transplants that were pretty hard," said Braun who also fights debilitating depression.

The source of his sickness was mostly a mystery until activists in East Harris County started talking about an unlikely outburst of Multiple Myeloma cases around the San Jacinto River, not far from the Dioxin dump  on its west bank.

"Here's a picture of me skiing in the 70's and 80's," said Braun offering a photo of himself .

That's right, Sam Braun says he spent countless hours in the water near the toxic waste pits skiing, swimming and fishing and never knew the poison was there.

"I'm sure back in the 60's when they were dumping it there they had no idea how bad it was or that they were doing a bad thing. I'm sure the Dioxins are leeching out of there anytime we have a tropical storms, or hurricanes or things like that," said Braun.

And that's why he's joined a growing outcry for complete removal of the Super Fund Site, a plea made more urgent by a Texas Department  of Health Services study that's uncovered cancer clusters among communities along the river.

"Let’s not spare a dime. Let’s get this stuff out of here because it's just going to continue to hurt people," said Braun.

While Braun and activists contend the waste site is the likely  cause of disease scientists are far less certain and say the issue demands more study.

Meantime International Paper and Waste Management, the companies who inherited responsibility for the dump, say the Dioxin is contained.

The EPA is scheduled to decide if that's true by December.