Several Fifth Ward families have a cancer diagnosis; nearby rail yard blamed

A town hall action meeting to discuss cancer clusters in the Fifth Ward was held Tuesday evening.

Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee and environmental activist Erin Brockovich held the event at Wheatley High School. 

These are homes located over a site that is contaminated with creosote, due to over 40 years over the cancer-causing chemical being spread in the air from a nearby rail yard. Lung cancer was the most common type of cancer reported. 

The panel included representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, FEMA, the state, and health departments. Residents who attended tonight’s meeting learned more about the findings from the study, and also steps they can take to protect themselves during this process.

“Individuals who are signing documents and not getting anyone to look at, senior citizens who are signing documents and not getting anybody to review it, you need not sign documents if you don’t know what you were signing. That is why we have a government, they should be helping," Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee warned.

The public also learned about resources that are available to them and were able to sign a petition for inclusion in the superfund national priorities list. 

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