FRANKLIN — Cancer-causing chemicals found near the Amphenol plant in Franklin have been a concern for years. Neighbors are finally getting to take their questions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The agency held a series of public meetings on Wednesday at the high school to address community concerns about the Amphenol/Franklin Power Products site.
The concerns are personal for a group of parents, including Stacie Davidson. She began asking questions in 2014 when her stepson and nine other children were diagnosed with leukemia.
"Unfortunately we call it the cancer club which you don't want to be a part of but that's just what we call it," Davidson said.
Her stepson, Zane, finished treatment a year ago, evening going on a Make-A-Wish trip to Hawaii last week. Others, like 13-year-old Emma Findley, haven't been as fortunate. Findley did not survive her diagnosis.
Emma's mom, Kari Rinehart, joined forces with Davidson to push for answers about the cancer-causing chemicals in Franklin.
"This wasn't a huge cover-up," Rinehart said. "I think it fell through the cracks over and over and over again."
In Johnson County, nearly 60 children have been diagnosed with rare forms of blood and brain cancer in the last 10 years.
The EPA is telling families it has a handle on the contamination.
"We did a cleanup that we directed back in the 90s, and put some activities in place, we got a pump and treat system in there," Joe Cisneros, EPA corrective action chief, said. "We've also got areas of contamination that were removed. But we want to make sure that what we did in the 90s was adequate."
The EPA said it has 37 homes that need indoor air testing but they've only sampled roughly half of those because some people aren't opening their doors.
Rinehart said she doesn't know if the renewed investigation would have made a difference for her daughter had it come sooner.
"I want to think that it would have made a difference," she said. "I think it would have made a difference. Can I say specifically for Emma that it would have made a difference? I don't know. We'll never know."
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