By Yossi Stern for COLlive.com
A member of my family has been battling three bouts of cancer over the last 25 years, recently diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. I have since learned that 8 of her neighbors have died from cancer or are currently battling cancer.
We began to realize that there may be something more than a coincidence, with many neighbors in the area of Empire Blvd. and Albany Avenue in Crown Heights contracting cancer.
Many years ago, there was a dry cleaning service on the south-east corner, which has since closed, that used to clean clothes on the premises.
All six homes adjacent to that cleaners, along Empire Boulevard, has had member(s) of the family that have either died of cancer or is battling cancer.
Many cleaners used a chemical called PERC, it was regulated by the EPA. PERC is a very strong chemical that is effective in cleaning clothes, but the side of effects of being exposed to PERC can be lethal. After many deaths and health issues, the EPA has banned the lethal levels of PERC to be used.
The state of California has recognized nthe damage that PERC has caused and has passed a state law banning it in its entirety by the year 2023.
VIDEO: California cleans up toxic dry cleaning solvents
The problem with PERC is that although it has not been used in years, is has been absorbed into the building and possibly neighboring properties. It may continue to pose a risk of cancer to the homeowners and residents who currently live in the area.
I started to investigate this further and found the following (very tragic) statistics:
1. In the area of Empire and Albany: Nine residents with cancer, five have passed away from cancer, four are currently battling cancer. There was a dry cleaners there.
2. In the area of Kingston and Empire: Two residents with cancer, possibly a third. There was a dry cleaners there.
3. Kingston and President: One person had cancer. There was a dry cleaners there.
These statistics aren’t conclusive, but that is what was so far reported to me. I invite anyone with more knowledge on specific cases to contact me (their information will not be made public without their permission).
I contacted the EPA and they are very interested in hearing our findings and reports of cancer. They said they will study and see if there is a correlation and if so, what steps can be taken to address this matter.
Those of you that know me, know I can be relentless in getting to the bottom of this. My entire mission is to see if we can prevent others from getting cancer from this.
I have teamed up with Geoffrey Davis, 43rd Assembly Democratic District Leader and a local resident, and we will incorporate politicians and community leaders to structure an organized plan.
Together, we hope to collect as many stories, verify them, document their case histories, present these cases to the media, scientists, chemists, the EPA, and other government agencies that monitor hazards waste.
If you are aware of someone who had or has cancer, please send us an email and we will follow up with you. If you want to volunteer with this effort, please also be in touch. My email: [email protected]
Keep in mind, it can very well be, that cancer may not have been contracted due to the PERC. But we need to investigate this and find out without question whether our community is safe or not.
This is a health concern all over the country and beyond, but we are focused only on Crown Heights cases.
May Hashem bless us that we do not hear of any additional stories of cancer. And to all the people who are battling a health issue, may Hashem bless you with an immediate and full recovery.
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