Clarendon receives grant for environmental testing

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(Host) A community action group in Clarendon has received a $15,000 grant from the state to investigate potential cancer clusters in the town. Clarendon FIRST will use the money to conduct environmental tests near schools.

VPR’s Nina Keck reports:

(Keck) Clarendon FIRST has been working for over a year and a half to find out why the town has considerably higher than normal cancer rates for leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Initial testing enabled the organization to map out general pollution sources in the community.

But Allysa Schurren, Vermont director for the Toxics Action Center, a non-profit organization helping Clarendon FIRST, says in the next few weeks they’ll zero in on the schools.

(Schurren) “What we found out is a lot of the children who have leukemia are located all around in different areas and not necessarily clustered together. And so we’re looking at what common thread do these children have? And it’s the schools. And so we’re taking a look at the pathways of exposure from the pollution sources that could possibly go into the schools just to make sure the schools are safe.”

(Keck) While the state has tested school water and examined swab samples from the walls of the schools, Schurren says the new round of tests will examine the air and will focus more specifically on certain types of chemicals. She says they hope to have a tow meeting in early November to release the results of both the new studies and a community health survey begun last year.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Nina Keck.

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