Two small towns in Cleburne County have a big problem. Dozens of cancer cases have been reported, and residents say the common thread is contaminated ground water. Most alarming: several cases of leukemia among children.
Megan Alred’s son Will passed away from leukemia at the age of 12 in August 2017. Their well water was tested, and found to contain cancer-causing chemicals. Alred believes the water she consumed when she was pregnant with Will, and the water the family continued to consume, caused Will’s leukemia diagnosis at 16 months. She’s speaking out because she says her family does not want this to happen to anyone else. “We know this is wrong, and I want it fixed,,” she says.
Christy Hiett is the principal of Fruithurst Elementary School. She is sounding the alarm to get action. She was motivated by the four cases of leukemia in young children. “It became evident something had to be done. We needed some research. There had to be a common thread to connect all of those children.” That common thread might be the water from local wells. “Knowing the chemicals and heavy metals that are in the ground water, and having professional medical research on all of those chemicals and heavy metals, and to know what they do to the body, it’s very serious,” states Hiett. She presents some interesting data. “The CDC predicts one childhood leukemia case for the entire county in a span of 5 years. We had 4 within months in our small area – not the entire county. So if they predict one for the entire county of 15,000 people, and we have four in a community of 850 people, that’s too many.” Hiett is working in conjunction with Auburn University to have well water tested, and to provide reverse osmosis filtration systems to those who rely on wells for drinking water.
ABC 33/40’s iTeam goes to work to investigate the cause of the contamination, and what can be done to make the drinking water safe. Monday at 6 on ABC 33/40 News