If you attend Collinsville High School you probably know of our three students effected by cancer, but what many people don’t know is the effect cancer has outside our high school throughout our community.
There are over five new cases of cancer within Collinsville alone. Although Collinsville tops the list, the numbers continue to climb as you account for nearby towns such as Owasso and Oologah.
So the question has arose: is there a connection between the numerous new cases of cancer and the location?
“Not only do the three kids go to Collinsville High School, but they even all lived in the same neighborhood at one point,” said Lori Downey, mother of Collinsville senior Tatum Andres who was diagnosed with Lymphoma Non Hodgkins.
Both Oologah and Owasso share at least one water source with Collinsville, but each city has separate retaining systems. Due to certain laws in place contamination cannot supersede a certain level while inside those retaining systems and still be available to the public. In other words once the water leaves the retaining system it’s contamination level is below the mandated level.
Downey took to Facebook to post about how the water might have effected not only Tatum, but others in the area. Her effort did not go unnoticed. Shortly after Downey’s post comments began to pour in:
“…I have seen more new cases of cancer in Collinsville and Owasso than the Tulsa area,” commented a nurse via Facebook.
“If you research back farther (the amount of cancer from this area) gets worse,” comments another one of Downey’s friends.
“This is scary is there a connection?” asked another Facebook user.
The coincidences do not stop there.
“I want you to Google the Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing Superfund Site in Collinsville,” begged Downey.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, between the years of 1914 to 1925 a 61 acre lot located in Collinsville Oklahoma was a zinc smelter.
cumulis.epa.gov published information saying that the site contaminated soil, sediment, and water with hazardous chemicals. This lot set for 79 years after its closing before the EPA even attempted a clean up project. After examining many reports it is clear that the EPA’s “clean up” consisted of cleaning up hazardous chemicals WITH hazardous levels of cleaning products. It was documented that high acidity level along with a high chlorine count left The City of Collinsville to send out a warning that cancer could be a side effect of this “clean up”, but only to people with low immune systems. It has been speculated that due to the high expense of filtration systems the EPA was left to use alternative methods of decontamination.
After multiple attempts to get in contact with The City of Collinsville someone who asked to remain nameless answered.
“Which one?” she replied when asked about the superfund site. “I don’t think there’s any connection. Look at all the people without cancer in that area,” said the unnamed source.
The facts continue: a confirmed six Collinsville citizens with cancer have been diagnosed with types of Lymphoma. Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that is mostly caused by environmental factors.
Tatum’s Andres family has switched to a new water system and are looking into their legal options regarding the EPA.
“We are not done fighting this,” continued Downey. “We have lawyers and this could end up being a class action lawsuit.”
The EPA, along with Washington Rural Water District #3 declined to comment.