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Neighbors Accuse Fort Detrick Of Causing Cancer

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

Bill Krantz's father died of cancer at 60. His aunt died of cancer too. Then his sister. Now his wife is sick.

"My wife's really struggling, but she's got ovarian cancer. My brother's in Hopkins right now. It's been an awful hard time," says Krantz.

Krantz and his family lived most of their lives right next to what's known as Area B on Fort Detrick. It was the site of chemical, biological, and radiological testing for the U.S. military between 1940 and 1970. The groundwater is still contaminated, and it's a superfund site now.

"Where the dumps are in Fort Detrick are on my dad's farm," he says. Krantz is not alone. Randy White is the head of the Kristen Renee Foundation, named for his daughter who died two years ago at age 30.

"In a 1-2 mile radius, I want you to see this, we have over 400 families, 400 families, with cancer," says White.

White's wife has cancer now too.

"Something's not right at Fort Detrick," he says.

Dr. Barbara Brookmeyer is Frederick County's Health Officer. She says she's taking the allegations very seriously.

"Definitely," says Brookmeyer.

The state, she says, is already investigating.

"We'll be looking at within that geographic area how does the rate of all cancers compare to the rate of all cancers in Frederick County as a whole and the state of Maryland," she says.

Fort Detrick spokesman Chuck Gordon says the army is in full support of the investigation.

"We're working with our regulatory partners, we're working with our local community, and we want to make sure we're doing the right thing," says Gordon.

The state's investigation is expected to be done in November.

WAMU 88.5

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