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SLUDGE VICTIMS

May 2001 update - compiled by Helane Shields - prepared for WWW by ESRA

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asked if we could have someone come out and test this stuff, but he said he was not the one to do it. He gave us several names stemming from people of DES to the Regional EPA office in Boston. Our efforts to contact these people were fruitless. Our phone calls were not returned and if they were, we were treated rudely or given another name to contact. Between my neighbors and myself, we went full- spectrum in the contacts we were given, which resulted in nothing.

Approximately three days later, the evening of Thanksgiving, I kissed my son, Shayne of 26 years, goodnight, for the last time. Around four a.m. that morning, I was awakened to a frightful scream from my other son, who was home from college during the holiday. When I ran to the room, Shayne appeared unconscious, yet he seemed like he was gasping. 911 was called and all I could do was hug him and wait for the paramedics. We spent what seemed like an eternity in the hospital waiting room, only to be told my son was dead.

The weeks that followed were even more brutal if that were possible. We couldn't grieve for our son, because we were too busy fighting illnesses and spending sleepless nights, watching over my little girl sleeping, trying to pass the mucous in her throat and fighting viruses. Trips to the doctors and hospital emergency rooms became a frequent thing for my neighbors and us. As one who seldom ever was administered an anti-biotic in her lifetime, I went through approximately seven prescriptions of antibiotics within a year. Two of us were diagnosed with Pleurisy. Three to four or us developed abscesses and cysts that needed to be lanced. There were recurring allergenic illnesses in the young babies of the neighbors that the doctors could not pinpoint the cause. The men suffered severe nosebleeds that were unstoppable. Some of the children suffered unbearable migraine headaches. Both my neighbor and I had turnor masses surgically removed from our breasts. One neighbor suffered heart failure and one was bedridden for weeks. The list goes on and on. By the end of two years, five cats (all mousers) (two mine and three my neighbors) as well as my other neighbors older dog died, all from tumors.

Again to get someone to help us proved futile. Even when noted violations to the 503's were cited, those, whose salaries are paid by us, seemed unconcerned and closed a deaf ear. Even the death of my son, was not enough to rouse them and investigate the possibility and/or eliminate the connection. Instead they fumbled at trying to find other causes to prove it wasn't the sludge. Even when the autopsy report stated the immediate cause as respiratory and the underlying cause as inconclusive; none of our officials sprang to action. All our phone calls, eventually, went unanswered and we were left to deal with the unknown ourselves. Doctors wouldn't or couldn't help. Their reply was that they didn't know what they were dealing with. Yet they were sure to load us up with plenty of antibiotics. It didn't seem to matter that one life was lost and no one knew why. It didn't seem to matter that proven records of healthy citizens prior to the sludge dumping, were all experiencing illnesses of various kinds and medical problems. This was not a concern. Our officials and the people responsible appeared indifferent and uncaring; after all, it was only one life.

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