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State Looks into Cancer Cases Near Base’s Toxic Waste Sites

July 17, 1991

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) _ Eight people in a 10-block area near Air Force toxic waste sites have been diagnosed with a rare cancer and five have died, prompting an investigation by state authorities.

The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services is studying the incidence of Hodgkin’s disease in the neighborhood.

The residential area, known as South Patrick Shores, is near old toxic waste sites at Patrick Air Force Base, just south of Cape Canaveral.

The sites include different types of toxic waste from old landfills and work yards dating to the 1940s, records show.

Base spokeswoman Terry Bracher said Tuesday there was ″no known link″ between toxic waste dumps on the base and the cancer cases.

″It’s not a fluke,″ said Scott Craig, 28, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s 10 years ago. ″There’s just too much cancer there, too much Hodgkin’s disease, to be a fluke.″

As teen-agers, Craig and several friends used to go to the base to swim and fish in canals and ponds.

One friend, Bill Latshaw, died in 1983 of complications due to Hodgkin’s. Another, Mike Reynolds, now 30, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s in 1980. Reynolds had his spleen removed and received radiation treatment.

″Something of this magnitude and concentration requires an investigation without question,″ said state Rep. Dixie Sansom.

Residents say Hodgkin’s disease first appeared in the neighborhood in 1967, when Larry Crockett, then 24, was diagnosed with the cancer. He died last year.

Douglas Allen Rudy died of Hodgkin’s in 1982 at age 21. He lived with his family in South Patrick Shores from 1960 to 1968.

Two women in the neighborhood died from the disease in 1967 and 1970.

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