Outrage and Action
In March 1996, over 1000 citizens attended a public meeting to express
their outrage and concern over the high rate of cancer in Toms River.
As a result of this meeting, Commissioner Fishman of the New Jersey
Department of Health formed a Citizens Action Committee for Childhood
Cancer Cluster (CACCCC) with Linda Gillick as its chair. Linda Gillick
is also the founder of Ocean of Love, a children's cancer support group.
The CACCCC is charged with providing the public with timely and honest
information about the investigation and to make sure the government
agencies serve the public interest.
In December 1997, about forty families afflicted with childhood cancer
announced the formation of their organization, TEACH (Toxic Environment
Affects Children's Health). TEACH has since grown to sixty families.
Between 1979 and the present time, we have 110 confirmed cases of
childhood cancer. Central Nervous System cancer is seven times higher,
and leukemias five times higher, than the national average.
As a result of the outcry over the childhood cancer cluster, ordinary
citizens have gotten involved and mobilized to take action. Because of
their efforts, the contaminated wells were taken off line and additional
protection is being placed on the remaining wells in the Parkway well
field. The government agencies are doing an extensive study of childhood
cancer in the area in order to determine whether the pollution is a
cause. They are also doing additional work to look at other possible
causes of childhood cancer in Toms River.