Clyde cancer cluster

The Clyde cancer cluster was a childhood cancer cluster located in and around Clyde, Ohio, United States. The cluster was classified[1] by the Ohio Department of Health in 2009. In an 11-year interval, ten childhood cancers were documented in an area where 5.3 were expected, and four pediatric brain and central nervous system cancers were reported, in an area where 0.92 were expected. According to the ODH, the odds of this happening without a common cause are less than 1 in 20.[2] No known commonality exists between the cases, and despite years of investigation no cause has been found.

After the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency carried out soil tests in the Whirlpool Corporation's former corporate park, Whirlpool Park, in Green Springs, Ohio, it was apparent that soil on the property contained polychlorinated biphenyls. Whirlpool Corporation faced two lawsuits, perhaps the most notable one being Brown v. Whirlpool Corporation, of which the main plaintiff was Wendy Brown, as the park is perhaps the most well known suspected[by whom?] cause of the cluster. This lawsuit was dismissed in 2014, and the other, Sandusky County v. Whirlpool Corporation, was withdrawn in 2015. In January 2016, the EPA reported that Whirlpool Park had been cleared of PCB contamination.[3]

Early investigationEdit

In 2006, the Ohio Department of Health recognized that the incidence of child cancer cases in the Clyde area was abnormally high, and in 2007, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency started investigating possible causes.[4] Many community members became angry because of what they perceived as little progress made by the agency throughout this series of investigations.[5][6][7][8] The lack of possible causes found during the early investigations of the cluster was a source of continuing worry for the affected community.[9][10][11]

In December 2009, at a meeting with affected families, the Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency distributed a map of the area pinpointing the locations of the homes of children who had cancer.[12]

Whirlpool Corporation investigationEdit

In late 2011 and early 2012, over a period of several months, the Environmental Protection Agency tested soil in several different parts of Clyde and surrounding areas.[13][14] In late July 2012, investigators found polychlorinated biphenyls, which is a probable human carcinogen,[15][16] in the soil of the property that was formerly known as Whirlpool Park,[17] a recreational park that was owned by the Whirlpool Corporation until the park was shut down in 2008. This park, located near Green Springs, Ohio, consisted of a pool, children's playing equipment, and a basketball court, and the property was apparently used as a dumping ground for this toxic waste.[18] The agency investigated Clyde's Whirlpool plant further, and found no other Whirlpool facilities in Clyde containing any illegal chemical substances.[19]

On March 28, 2013, a $750 million class action lawsuit[20] was filed against Whirlpool,[21] other companies suspected of also dumping toxic waste at the park, and the family who currently owns the property that was formerly Whirlpool Park.[22] This lawsuit, Wendy Brown, et al. v. Whirlpool Corporation,[23] consisted of 27 plaintiffs, including both Wendy and Warren Brown. The amount sought was for the expenses of cleaning the houses containing benzaldehyde and for cleaning the park, as well as the damage the cluster caused altogether.[24] The lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, at the plaintiffs' request, in early 2015 with no reason given.[25][26][27] Whirlpool promised to rid the property of all toxic waste in August 2015.[28][29]

Community ActionsEdit

Throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, many citizens of Clyde, and of Ohio in general, held fundraisers,[30][31] gave donations, and helped maintain memories of those who died in the cluster.[32] Several documentaries by citizens of Clyde were created that centered around personal experiences with cancer and the effects it had on the Clyde community.[33][34] In 2015, the president of the City of Clyde Landscape Committee, Bev Henson, formed a private committee to work on the Clyde Children's Memorial. It is a marble memorial with the names of the victims engraved on the top of seven pedestral marble, arranged in a circle around a lower center stone inscribed with the phrase "Remember Our Children". The memorial was unveiled to the public in 2017. It is set across from the gazebo and along the bike trail west of maple street.[35][36]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Cancer Clusters, Disease, and the need to Protect People from Toxic Chemicals" (PDF). Natural Resources Defense Council. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Eastern Sandusky County Assessment Project". EPA. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  4. ^ Walsh, Jonathan (6 November 2008). "News 11 Special Report: Cancer Cluster". WTOL. Archived from the original on 27 December 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-30.
  5. ^ November 8, 2008, Jonathan Walsh, "Woman takes action in Clyde cancer cluster study" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  6. ^ November 19, 2008, Jonathan Walsh "Residents demand answers in cancer cluster case" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  7. ^ August 18, 2011, "Getting Action: Feds travel to Clyde, OH to investigate Cancer Cluster", WOIO
  8. ^ December 3, 2009, Jonathan Walsh, "Parents of kids with cancer frustrated with Ohio Department of Health" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  9. ^ June 17, 2011, "Ohio's Federal EPA Director questioned about the Clyde Cancer Cluster", WOIO
  10. ^ February 9, 2011, "Exclusive: Terrified Ohio parents want to know what's killing their children", WOIO
  11. ^ February 10, 2011, "Part II: Terrified Ohio parents want to know what's killing their children", WOIO
  12. ^ December 15, 2009, Lisa Strawbridge, "Map released of expanded cancer cluster" Archived 2015-12-27 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  13. ^ January 5, 2012, "Cancer Cluster: EPA to test over a dozen sites in Sandusky County", WOIO
  14. ^ August 29, 2011, "Soil sample test results in Clyde cancer cluster investigation", WOIO
  15. ^ "PCB, Basic Information". Environmental Protection Agency/US Gov. 2015. Retrieved 2015. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ Robertson, Larry W.; Ludewig, Gabriele (2011-01-01). "Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) carcinogenicity with special emphasis on airborne PCBs". Gefahrstoffe, Reinhaltung der Luft = Air quality control / Herausgeber, BIA und KRdL im VDI und DIN. 71 (1–2): 25–32. ISSN 0949-8036. PMC 3113507. PMID 21686028.
  17. ^ "Clyde Cancer Cluster clue". WOIO. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2015-12-31.
  18. ^ November 14, 2012, "Whirlpool Park near Clyde, Ohio found to be toxic dumping ground", Newton Independent
  19. ^ November 14, 2012, "Victims' families start Clyde Cancer Cluster investigation", WOIO
  20. ^ May 27, 2013, Emily Valdez, "Residents Briefed on ‘Clyde Cancer Cluster’ Case", WJW
  21. ^ March 28, 2013, "$750 million class-action lawsuit filed in Clyde, Ohio, cancer cluster case", Associated Press
  22. ^ March 29, 2013, Tom Jackson, "Lawsuit blames Whirlpool for cancer cluster", Sandusky Register
  23. ^ Case No. 3:13CV1092: Wendy Brown, et al. v. Whirlpool Corporation
  24. ^ May 15, 2013, Vanessa McCray, "27 plaintiffs sue Whirlpool over Clyde cancer cluster", The Blade
  25. ^ February 21, 2015, "Ohio families drop cancer cluster suit against Whirlpool", The Washington Times
  26. ^ February 18, 2015, Kristina Smith, "Cancer cluster lawsuit against Whirlpool dropped", Fremont News Messenger
  27. ^ November 9, 2013, Kristina Smith, "One of Two Lawsuits against Whirlpool for Clyde cancer cluster dismissed", Fremont News Messenger
  28. ^ July 31, 2015, Kristina Smith, "Whirlpool agrees to clean up toxic former park", Fremont News Messenger
  29. ^ August 5, 2015, Tom Jackson, "Whirlpool clean up former Whirlpool Park", Sandusky Register
  30. ^ October 12, 2008, Nick Dutton, "Hundreds attend fundraiser for Clyde cancer kids" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  31. ^ July 13, 2011, "Clyde family hosts golf benefit for cancer cluster" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WOIO
  32. ^ October 23, 2009, Jonathan Walsh, "Perrysburg boy works to honor Alexa Brown's memory" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  33. ^ March 3, 2010, Erica Shaffer "Clyde students earn state award for cancer documentary" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  34. ^ December 7, 2010, "Filmmaker completes cancer cluster documentary" Archived 2015-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, WTOL
  35. ^ "Clyde Children's Memorial planned for cancer victims". The News-Messenger. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  36. ^ "Clyde Children's Cancer Memorial to be unveiled Sunday". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-11-04.

External linksEdit