NORWOOD, Pa. (CBS) — There are lingering community health concerns in one Delaware County town. The EPA is speaking out about the situation in Norwood, where many residents are convinced something in the environment is causing a possible cancer cluster, but testing, so far, shows no obvious dangerous contamination.
The Environmental Protection Agency will test more soil on individual Norwood properties around landfills that have been abandoned for decades. Scientists will also examine groundwater.
The federal agency is trying to determine if there is a link between what Norwood residents believe to be elevated illnesses and whatever was sunk into those landfills.
“Well, new information that came in around August of this year helped lead to a new waste disposal area that had not been previously sampled,” EPA site manager Joe Vitello said.
Vitello is overseeing the area under investigation.
Initial results showed little contamination, despite neighbors’ insistence the area contains toxic waste dumped as far back as the 1950s and ’60s.
“We are going to dig deeper just to see what may be there and help alleviate some of their concerns,” Vitello said.
The EPA acknowledged concern about the appearance as illness rates are higher than normal in this specific area.
Zach Halliday’s father and aunt died from cancer just years apart.
“It’s very hard losing your father, and dealing with cancer since 13 or 14, I don’t know how do you deal with that,” he said.
Teachers at nearby Norwood Elementary School have tracked 100-plus cases of cancer and other diseases. There have been 18 deaths.
But, so far, there’s no conclusive link to anything in the environment driving up those numbers.
“Our data that we’ve started with does not indicate that there is that elevated risk at this point in time,” Vitello said.
There was criticism from the community that the first round of testing didn’t go in depth enough.