This is a list of over 212 families, out of 250 in Minden, West Virginia who have had at least one member of their family diagnosed with cancer over the last 25 years.
Why is the number so large?
Well a company called Shaffer Equipment used an abandoned mine, in the center of the town, to dump electrical equipment and contaminated oil. However, this equipment was full of dangerous chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls which was commonly used to insulate electrical equipment.
Percy Fruit, a resident of Minden, told us, “And when I was a kid, It was a lot of kids that did. We played in those containers with that PCB in it. We didn’t know what it was, I don’t know if he knew or not. It was, just everywhere, right here on this property.”
However, it wasn’t until 1977 that EPA approved the theory that exposure to PCB can lead to cancer. So they then banned the use of it.
An Oak Hill doctor earged EPA, 25 years ago, to take immediate action.
Dr. Hassan Amjad said, “My suggestion at the time was to relocate the small population we have because PCB is not really biodegradable it stays 500 years in the soil and we may not be able to do it.”
He has reached out to residents who either lived in Minden, or still do, and the list of those affected continues to grow.
Pamela Patry, a former resident of Minden, is one of those who has seen this first-hand, “I have had 5 brothers and sister who have died of cancer, and a niece, and I got a nephew whose got it. I’ve got a brother with luchemia, brother with blood work disorder, and I had colon cancer. I had part of my colon galbladder.. complete hysterectomy. It’s ridiculous down there… you couldn’t get nothing done. All of these people that died, it’s awful, it’s a shame.”
Dr. Hassan is working with residents to continue getting the word out, and hope for government involvement to put an end to this horrible situation.
“The thing is, it is confirmed. International association for cancer accepts PCB as a carcinogen, so it’s not a question anymore. They could have questioned my finding, 25 years ago, but there’s no reason and nothing has been done for these people really,” he added.