Sisters researching possible cancer cluster in North Little Rock

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) Sisters from North Little Rock believe contamination in their childhood neighborhood is to blame for a cancer cluster that claimed their parents lives.

Lisa McAteer and Christine Keene have found 9 cases within a mile radius. Two people are still living.

Bob and Cindy Meech moved into their Indian Hills home in 1978. Lisa recalls, "It was our family home where we grew up and all our memories where there."

A marathon runner, their dad, Bob died two and a half years after being diagnosed in 2004. Five years later, their mom got the grim news. She died 11-months later. Christine says, ""After mom was diagnosed, it is like winning a lottery that nobody ever wants to win. We have been robbed of having them around."

Lisa adds, "Deep down inside we knew that there had to be something. It was just unbelievable."

They started researching the North Little Rock landfill that closed in the early 90's. It is still in the process of being shut down. The sisters found permits, violations and fines.

Christine says an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality document stood out, "It read that they tested the drainage area by our former home for Leachate contaminated runoff from the landfill."

(Leachate - A product or solution formed by leaching, especially a solution containing contaminants picked up through the leaching of soil.)

The run off poured down the creek that flows on the property of their former home and into the Indian Hills lakes. Matching where they found people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

"Four of them were on Flintrock Road which is where our parents lived. The other 5 were around the Indian Hills Lakes." Christine adds, "We know there is something there. That is a very significant number of pancreatic cancer cases in such a very small area."

Only about 4% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are living 5 years later. One person who contacted the sister was diagnosed last month.

Christine says the Arkansas Department of Health is the lead on the investigation. Although the department will not confirm that with Channel Seven, a spokesperson says a case can take months to years to conclude.



In December, they started a Facebook page to raise awareness. Lisa explains, "It is for people who grew up in the area, maybe they have moved. We just want to let them know that this might be an issue and we want to get the word out if there are any symptoms."{}


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