Niagara County group seeking more information to link former school site to serious illnesses hits a roadblock

Niagara County

LEWISTON N.Y. (WIVB) — A group’s effort to prove they have serious illnesses because they attended school near radioactive waste in Niagara County just got more challenging.

Residents who refer to themselves as the “cancer cluster” are trying to figure out why a high percentage of people in Ransomville are battling cancer, MS and other health issues. Many of them say it’s because they had to attend school at Balmer Road Elementary Temporary School in the 1960’s, while the school district was expanding.

Residents say the school was near radioactive waste from the atomic bomb and cold war era, and going to school at the temporary site caused them health problems. However, no recent studies that would provide significant evidence of their claims has been done, and residents say they were hoping their school records would bring some type of proof.

Lewport Central School District Superintendent Paul Casseri says those records are not available.

“We have no records of students attendence at the Balmer road site,” Casseri said. “I couldn’t even tell you which teachers worked at the Balmer road site.”

He says records show the school district leased 12 temporary classrooms at that location on 1600 Balmer road in the 1960s but that’s it.

“We always provide student records but when anyone requests student records they ask for their high school transcript,” Casseri said. “We don’t carry and we’re not required to carry records from elementary schools.”

Residents pushing for more information say they will meet again in April to discuss this further.

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