December 20, 2018


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Residents of east Orange County filed a lawsuit this morning alleging that Orlando’s coal-burning power plants have poisoned their homes and public spaces with metal, chemical and radioactive residues that have triggered a local spike in rare cancer cases.

The area identified as harmed in the lawsuit are the southern portions of the zip codes 32825 and 32828 and communities of Avalon Park, Stoneybrook, Eastwood, Cypress Springs, Andover Lakes/Cay, and Turnberry Pointe/Cay. It spans nearly 30,000 residents and 15,000 homes.

“The danger of such exposure is borne out by an epidemiologic analysis based on data from the Florida Cancer Disease Registry and a site investigation, which found a higher incidence of, for instance, pediatric brain and blood cancers including two exceedingly rare pediatric brain cancers,” states the lawsuit by a South Florida firm that specializes nationally in cases of environmental threats to communities.

“The only source of these cancer-causing Contaminates is the Stanton Power Plant, which has a unique Contaminate fingerprint,” it states.

. . .

The lawsuit claims that the contamination from the power plants has made homes and yards health hazards for residents and particularly children, and that private and public spaces should be cleaned up.

“We owe a duty and responsibility to the community and the public to make sure that the areas where people are living are safe and can be enjoyed,” said Theodore Leopold of Cohen Milstein in Palm Beach Gardens.

Leopold also is a lead lawyer in a class-action lawsuit in the Flint, Mich., water crisis and in another class action against E.I. DuPont de Nemours Co. over contamination of North Carolina’s Cape Fear River.

[Plaintiff Michelle] Irizarry said she now feels trapped in her home because the lawsuit’s investigation has documented the contamination of her property, which she fear will reduce its value.

She said she hopes for a swift removal of contamination from her home, her two daughters’ schools and other public spaces.

Orlando Utilities Commission this month launched $1 million worth of studies that among many objectives will consider shutting down its coal plants.

Keys concerns in the studies are the plants’ costs and their emissions of planet-heating gases.

Largely unexamined in the run-up to the studies was the possibility that the coal plants could be contaminating nearby neighbors.

Leopold said that regulatory agencies have given little attention to potential hazards to east Orange County of chimney emissions and coal-ash dust.

“Nobody before has drilled down into the science and epidemiology,” Leopold said.

The lawsuit asserts that coal naturally contains radioactive elements and that the Stanton plants imports coal from “most radioactive coal basin in the United States.”

The lawsuit states that polonium-210, a product of decaying uranium-238, which is found in coal, was detected in east Orange in significant concentrations but is otherwise exceedingly rare in nature.

“Polonium-210 in the Class Area can be attributed only to the Stanton Power Plant,” the lawsuit alleges.

The complete article can be accessed here.