January 19, 2019

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A Trump County Confronts the Administration Amid a Rash of Child Cancers

A Trump County Confronts the Administration Amid a Rash of Child Cancers
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The technology’s apparent ineffectiveness raises questions about hundreds of other sites using it, said Shannon Lisa, program director at Edison Wetlands.

“How many other communities across the United States are facing these very same issues?” she said.

Two girls lived, several years apart, in the same Franklin apartment about a mile from the toxic site. Both developed cancer, one at age 8 and the other at 14.

“You can’t go anywhere, or do anything, without meeting someone who’s been affected,” said Angela Brennan, whose daughter, Karley, was one of those girls. In 2012, the family learned that Karley had cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare cancer affecting the skin. Later that year, 14-year-old Madison Newton was told that she had an aggressive form of pilocytic astrocytoma, which causes tumors in the brain and spinal cord.

Karley, who turns 15 this week, is in remission. Madison died in 2015. And across Franklin, If It Was Your Child yard signs dot the city, where a local TV station, WTHR Channel 13, is doggedly tracking the concerns.

There are conflicting views here of the administration’s environmental rollbacks. There is talk that the federal government should get out of people’s lives, even as local officials have called on the E.P.A. to take over the response to the contamination.

“When it comes to public health, we can go against party lines. And I don’t agree with trying to roll back the E.P.A.’s role,” said Steve Barnett, Franklin’s mayor and a Republican. “Back in the day, there weren’t any rules. That’s why there was so much contamination,” he said. “That’s why we need the E.P.A., and that’s why we need rules.”

Many members of If It Was Your Child in the Franklin area play down the politics, noting that both parties have let the cleanup fall by the wayside. Nevertheless, their demands come at a time when the Trump administration has weakened the very rules that could prevent another Franklin.



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