Toxic signs are now placed in front of almost every property in Minden.
Residents here are urging for help after much of the test results from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that there are high levels of PCBs in the town.
Darrell Thomas, a Minden Resident for 58 years, told us, “You know, they tried to cover it up back in the 80s and 90s, and it just can’t be cleaned up. They’re going to come down here and tell us ‘oh it’s fine, you just can’t do this or you can’t do this’, but if you can’t plant a garden in your yard, then that yard is contaminated. I’m sorry.”
The city of Minden has a cancer rate that is four times the national average, and residents believe that the cause of this cancer is from PCBs.
However, after the EPA conducted soil testing this past summer, government health officials dismissed that theory, and told them that the PCB levels were not as as dangerous as they thought.
“And the fact that they’re going to tell us that everything is okay… it’s not okay. Come down and live in this place for 10 years, and watch your friends die of cancer and your neighbors die of cancer. You can’t tell me there’s nothing wrong down here,” said Thomas.
State and federal health officials are returning to Minden this Friday and Saturday, and residents are hoping that with this visit, they will finally get the help and answers that they’ve been asking for.
The EPA and officials from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health and Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will be at the meetings to discuss the PCB soil and water test results and answer health related questions. Then they will ultimately decide what future steps they may take.