KDHE: Study shows no link between decades of Haysville groundwater contamination, increase in cancer cases

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HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KSNW) – Disbelief, that is how some people in Haysville are reacting to a state health department study that shows no link between decades of groundwater contamination, and an increase in cancer cases.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment was in Haysville Tuesday night to release the findings of that study, that the number of cancer cases in Haysville is not high and not connected to the groundwater contamination.

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Many residents say they do not believe it, and they are questioning how the study was done.

State health officials told the crowd their study tried to track down all the cases of cancer and birth defects reported from the Haysville area, where dry cleaning chemicals tainted the well water for almost 20 years.

They concluded that the rate of disease was actually lower than expected.

“Looking at those target cancers that we found in those areas of interest were actually lower, statistically, significantly lower, than the rate for the county and and region and the state as well,” said Dr. Farah Ahmed, an environmental health officer for the KDHE.

But, some residents believe the study did not take everyone into account.

“It was interesting to know that the cancer incidents they used only counted after 2004,” said Kirby Bjostad. “I realize it can take a while for cancer to happen. But, if the dumping started in 78 that’s a long time.”

The state health department also announced plans to demolish the old dry cleaners building soon and will begin cleaning the contaminated soil.

All homes in the affected area are already hooked to city water lines.

“We still have well water for watering the yard, watering the garden and planting the sprinklers,” said Teri Bjostad, a Haysville resident.

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