"Dirty Soil and Diabetes: Anniston's Toxic Legacy"

"The Rev. Thomas Long doesn't have neighbors on Montrose Avenue anymore. Everyone is gone."

"Widespread chemical contamination from a Monsanto plant was discovered in West Anniston, in Alabama's Appalachian foothills, back in the 1990s. Behind Long’s home a church was demolished, and men in 'moon suits' cleaned the site for weeks. Nearby, boarded windows and sunken porches hang from abandoned shotgun houses. A red 'nuisance' sign peeks above the un-mowed lawn of one empty house.

But Long stayed; he had lived in the same house for all but one of his 64 years. Now he is stuck. Stuck on a street with no neighbors. Stuck with a property he's convinced is unclean. Stuck with an extraordinary load of chemicals in his body. And stuck with diabetes.

As a cleanup of West Anniston stretches into its eighth year, new research has linked PCBs exposure to a high rate of diabetes in this community of about 4,000 people, nearly all African American and half living in poverty. Even today, people there are among the most highly contaminated in the world."

Brett Israel reports part 6 of an ongoing series, "Pollution, Poverty, People of Color," with photos by David Tulis, for Environmental Health News, June 13, 2012.

 

Source: EHN, 06/13/2012