TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Some people in Tonawanda believe the community is suffering. The Clean Air Coalition will release results of a year-long environmental health study on the town. Wednesday, they will show the research to the community at a public meeting.
"It says what I think residents in the Town of Tonawanda have been saying for years, that there is a lot of illness in the community," said Erin Heaney, of the Clean Air Coalition.
This comes on the heels of another study just released last week by the State Health Department. Results found elevated levels of benzene and formaldehyde, two known cancer-causing chemicals in neighborhoods surrounding the industrial park.
Heaney said, "It really affirms with hard numbers, what residents in the area have been saying all along."
The air quality study released four years ago found high levels of two known carcinogens, benzene and formaldehyde, in neighborhoods surrounding Tonawanda's industrial park. The most recent study finds certain types of cancer more prevalent in people who live there.
Bladder cancer is 24 percent higher in men and 81 percent higher in women, compared to the rest of New York State excluding New York City. Leukemia, which is linked to the chemical benzene, is 93 percent higher in women living in the Sheridan Park neighborhood.
The study wasn't limited to cancer. It also found 30 percent more birth defects than the rest of the state. Bill Scheider teaches environmental health at the University at Buffalo. He says not just the cancer, but the birth defect findings are significant.
Sheider said, "People who just moved into the area, if they're planning on having a baby, exposure could be a problem."
If you want to go to the public meeting, it will take place at the American Legion Brounshidle Post on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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