There are many people getting rare cancers in this small Georgia town… But nobody knows why
Apr 27, 2019
In Waycross, there’s a tale about a boy who got a surprise while playing outside one day. He was behind his home on Brunel Street. This was back in the middle of the 20th century in a working-class neighborhood on the southeast side of the railroad yard. He got ahold of some matches. The boy was near a canal. These manmade creeks run all over town and keep the boggy, low-lying land from flooding. The boy was curious, mischievous. He struck a match, lit a piece of newspaper, and tossed it into the water. But when the burning paper touched the surface, it didn’t go out. The water burst into flames.
What was happening?As news spread on social media, many in Waycross came to wonder if these cases constituted a cancer cluster. Two years earlier, a resident in her early 50s named Joan Tibor had formed a group called Silent Disaster to spread the word about pollution in town. The idea sprang from her own health issues: a clouded mind, trouble speaking, a mass on her left leg. With no answers from doctors in town, she researched contaminated properties and became convinced those parcels were essentially poisoning the people of Waycross.