The Associated Press
03/14/99 11:08 PM Eastern
WELLINGTON, Ohio (AP) -- State health officials plan to Business study a Lorain County community where the number of cases of Community multiple sclerosis is five times the national average.
At least 22 people who live or grew up in the village of Living 4,200 have been diagnosed with MS, a debilitating illness of the central nervous system that can lead to vision loss, paralysis and slurred speech.
Dr. Richard Rudick, an MS researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, said a population the size of Wellington's should have no more than four cases of MS. Wellington is located about 35 miles southwest of Cleveland.
Dr. Robert Indian, the Ohio Health Department's chief of Chronic and Environmental Disease Surveillance, said he would review resident suspicions that the illnesses were caused by industrial pollution.
Files at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency show several complaints against two of the largest industries in town: Sterling Foundry Inc. and Forest City Technologies Inc., The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Sunday.
Four years ago, an EPA team inspected the foundry and found violations of air pollution standards and the handling of waste materials. The state sued in December seeking to close the company landfill.
EPA Regional Director William Skowronski said tests at Sterling Foundry found no chemicals at levels considered hazardous to humans.
Foundry attorney Larry Oscar told the newspaper that the company had "absolutely no reason to believe that the company has anything to do with" the cases of MS and said the landfill issue would be resolved soon. Oscar said Sunday night that his statement didn't need any elaboration.
A 1995 inspection at Forest City found emissions problems, but John Curtain, an EPA environmental supervisor in Twinsburg, said Forest City now complies with air pollution standards.
Forest City officials did not reply to several requests for comment,
the newspaper said. A call to the company Sunday night was answered by
a recorded message that offices were closed for the weekend.
© The Associated Press, 1999