Wellington, Ohio – This small village of only 4,866 residents has the highest cluster rate of confirmed MS (multiple sclerosis) cases in the United States – based on its population. Roughly 1% or 44 past & present residents of the Wellington population account for individuals who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This article is dedicated to the truth and exposes the companies that for decades illegally dumped and spewed untold numbers of carcinogens and chemicals into the villages water supply, underwater tables, crops and air. Also, embedded within you will read official documents furnished by the U.S. Department of Health and the EPA related to the MS cluster and through it all you will finally begin to understand the true nature of the beast.
Much like our most recent exposure that concerned two other cities in Lorain County (Sheffield Lake & Avon Lake Cancer Clusters Exposed) that have extremely high and abnormal cancer rates – the town of Wellington has an epicenter of infection as well. One that hosts more than 8 people with MS on the same street and then moving outward a dwindling effect that is almost just as persistent and finds an additional 25 people who are still battling or have passed away due to MS. All of whom were surrounded by toxic dumping and chemical releasing agents that can effect ones “myelin” levels (Myelin insulates the sheath that protects nerve fibers).
In 1998 a study by state and local health departments determined that residents of Wellington were three times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than the rest of the country. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that there had been a release of chemical contaminants in the environment surrounding a former foundry, the LESCO facility and the still operating Forest City Technologies.
UPDATE 9/5/2018: A new submission has netted a document pertaining to a government investigation into the ATSDR, a government group who has repeatedly refused to formulate any links between the clusters and the local pollutants/toxins from local businesses. Government Investigation into ATSDR – Why Cluster Studies Fail to Find Causes
All three of the companies listed below contributed to contaminating the environment in and around Wellington’s most prolific MS zones. It should be noted that contained below are specific violations and figures of chemicals that were discovered and released into the environment. It should also be noted that the figures represented below were majorily provided by said companies. Meaning; they sent the EPA the numbers for their own emissions.
The Sterling Foundry
The Sterling Foundry, established in 1921 produced gray and ductile iron castings, primarily for heavy industry and had a history of non-compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations. In addition to scattering red soot on residents’ homes and cars, the foundry had an eight-acre dumpsite near the town’s water reservoir. In 1998, the Ohio EPA stopped negotiating for clean-up and filed suit through the state attorney general’s office, attempting to force the foundry to close and cap the 8-acre landfill.
In the mid-1990s, the Ohio EPA received a number of complaints from Wellington residents concerning dust fall-out and odors from the facility (Ohio EPA, memorandum 1995). Subsequent investigations of the facility by Ohio EPA discovered that the plant’s air pollution control equipment had deteriorated during a down-time between owners and that several sources of air pollution at the facility were operating without any effective control equipment. As part of the notice of violation sent to Sterling Foundry by Ohio EPA, the company was required to repair or replace the faulty air-pollution control equipment and also identify potential hazardous substances in the waste streams generated by the facility’s operations (Ohio EPA, letter to Sterling Foundry 11/28/95).
A 1995 inspection of the facility by the Division of Hazardous Waste Management at Ohio EPA noted several solid waste streams at the facility, including spent foundry sands, bag house dusts from abrasive blasting operations, core butts and foundry sand 4 mold parts, and various cleaning solvents. To address the violations noted by Ohio EPA with regard to the foundry’s operations, the operators were asked to better characterize the types and amounts of waste in 1) bag house dust from abrasive blasting operations, 2) bag house bags, 3) used hydraulic oils, 4) settling pond sludges, and 5) the contents of drums observed in the facility paint area.
Additionally, during an Ohio EPA inspection on June 8, 1995, thick, black, oily smoke was observed being emitted as the result of the melting of scrap metal that had been coated with oil and the overcharging of the furnace, leading to the formation of heavy visible emissions. Ohio EPA required that the facility use only clean, oil-free scrap metal and that they operate the furnace effectively and not overcharge it with metal (Ohio EPA, June 8, 1995). Continued use of oily metal scrap would require additional pollution controls on the furnaces.
Mary Jane Neumann: Moved to Wellington in her 40’s. Ten years later she was diagnosed with MS, even though the disease typically strikes women in their 20’s or 30’s.
“Every day at 12:30, you’d hear the whistle, and the engines would let out and the air would be blue (coming from the Sterling Foundry). It wasn’t soot. I don’t know what it was. And there was a smell, just kind of a factory smell. There were just the three of us at that point, but you knew something was wrong.”
The LESCO Factory
Fertilizer was formulated and produced at the Wellington facility in the 1970s. Products produced, packaged, or warehoused at the facility included a variety of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Potentially hazardous materials included the herbicides 2,4,D and Diquat; the pesticides Dursban (chlorpyrifos), Diazinon, Carbaryl, Fonophos, Malathion, and Methoxychlor; and a variety of “horticultural oils” used as solvents for pesticide applications (LESCO, Inc. February 21, 2000). These oils contain the solvents xylene and 1,2,4 trimethylbenzene. LESCO ceased operations at the Wellington facility in 2002.
A review of Ohio EPA’s files on this facility conducted by ODH staff in July 2003 indicated that the company processed and stored a variety of hazardous materials on-site. Self-reported TRI data (US EPA) for the facility during the 1990s indicated the annual release of small quantities (1,000 lbs or less) of a number herbicides and pesticides to air at the facility. Chemicals released included the herbicides 2,4-D, Pendimethalin, and Trifluralin; and the pesticides Carbaryl, Chlorpyifos, Isofenphos, and Quintozene. Total estimated releases averaged about 4,000 lbs. per year during the time period from 1996 to 2000.
Forest City Technologies
Hazardous materials used in on-site processes included several products termed “primers” that contained significant amounts of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) toluene, xylene, and ethyl alcohol (Forest City Technologies, letter 1/25/02).
TRI data for the Forest City Technologies Plant #4 on Magyar Street were available for the time period from 1988 to 2001. During this time, the facility released up to 40,000 lbs. of the volatile organic compound dichloromethane (also called methylene chloride) per year to the on-site air. Dichloromethane is a chlorinated solvent used in a vapordegreasing process at the plant. Levels of dichloromethane released to the air from the facility declined steadily throughout the 1990s, from a high of 40,000 lbs. in 1994 to 10,000 lbs. in 2001 (US EPA TRI Explorer 2004). Based on review of the Title V Air Permit for Forest City Technologies (Ohio EPA 1998) and comparisons with reported air emissions data (Table 4), the levels of dichloromethane released from the facility were within the permitted levels for the plant (up to a maximum of 32.6 tons or 65,000 lbs per year). Dichloromethane (DCM) is a “probable” human cancer-causing substance based on lab-animal studies.
In 2005 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded (along with the Agency for Toxic Subtances & Disease Registry) in this lengthy manifest that via environmental data accrued at the time that MS was not a result of any of the surrounding companies and their operating procedures: “Based on the environmental data available to ODH and ATSDR on the industries in the Wellington area, no significant contaminants of concern were identified in human exposure pathways at concentrations that would likely result in adverse health effects. The causes of MS, the primary health concern in this community, are unknown; the disease is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This evaluation did not suggest any additional hypotheses for the cause of MS. ODH and ATSDR recognizes that the data available are limited in type, quantity, and time period of sampling; thus, the industries studied posed an Indeterminate Public Health Hazard. Sterling Foundry and LESCO, Inc. are now closed, and current environmental data from Forest City Technologies do not suggest any on-going public health hazard.”
How they reached the conclusion above is both unprofessional and unethical. They didn’t have enough sampling data (based on their own admissions) to successfully analyze the various outputs and dangerous nervous system compounds that had been flooded into the lungs, stomachs and local Wellington residents, nor did they include the effects of those percentages or the likelihoods. The conclusion that they reached in effect was based on current operating standards for companies that were OUT OF BUSINESS and didn’t even bother to take into effect of the compounds that were released into the community when the businesses were still in operation.
COBRA Says: Only total incompetent morons would come to the conclusion that these companies didn’t play a role in the MS cluster. Who launches an investigation into companies that no longer were in business and then fail to analyze the actual data during those businesses being in operation? That’s the equivalent of placing the serial killer Ted Bundy’s corpse in an interrogation room and attempting to ask him a battery of questions related to his murders. You know he murdered the fucking people, but he can’t say it because he’s dead, but the proof’s everywhere in plain sight.
(ON PAGE 4) The investigators stated in regards to The Foundry: “It is unknown whether these same substances were released to the environment from the Sterling Foundry facility because inadequate historical sampling data exist to fully identify past emissions from the facility.”
COBRA Says: Once again, self admitting that they launched an investigation too late…
(ON PAGE 16) Related to Forest City Technologies: “DCM is a probable human cancer-causing agent and exposure at high concentrations (>200 ppm) in enclosed occupational settings has led to central nervous system depression and some evidence of infertility in workers. It is not known with certainty whether nearby residents were exposed to DCM, or if these exposures occurred, whether the levels of exposure would be high enough to result in adverse health effects.”
The release of this investigation nullified any legal proceedings from the residents of Wellington to pursue any of the companies listed above. Setting money aside and the potential for systemic lawsuits going after every single coal, steel, manufacturing plant, processing plant in the country and these results would have a far different outcome…
It should be noted that the EPA has loose regulations on industries. While the Toxic Release Industry presents data on the use of 80,000 chemicals used across the country, the EPA tests less than one percent of these chemicals. Instead, the EPA advises companies to test these chemicals themselves and submit a report, which allows for selective reporting. Some industries, such as dry cleaners, auto service stations, hospitals, airports, landfills and farms using pesticides do not have to report at all.
The EPA also has outdated computer systems and laboratories as well. Studies of disease clusters take years to begin, a delay which alters the number in a disease cluster. The number of residents with MS in Wellington used to be higher; however, many subjects moved out of Wellington or died before a comprehensive study could commence.
Readers Note: Chronic disease statistics are available from some organizations, such as the MS Society and American Lung Association.
Timeline of Events
- Between 1990 and 1998 Wellington identified 27 cases of MS for a crude point prevalence estimate of 651 per 100,000 persons.
- In 1998 an increased number of MS cases in Wellington was officially identified by the Ohio Department of Health and the Lorain County health district.
- in 2001 there were 4,200 residents and 22 people who lived or grew up in Wellington that had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
- In 2006, Joyce L. Hansel, a nurse discovered that herself and 23 other Wellington residents within a six block radius were suffering from multiple sclerosis (eight of them living on her street).
- In 2011, the National Resources Defense Council said one in 146 Wellington residents had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (Nationwide MS affects one in 1,600 people).
- In 2016, there were 4,866 residents residing in Wellington and a total tally of 44 individuals who had lived there for prolonged periods of time that had contracted MS.
Nobody truly knows what causes MS specifically, but it should be common sense that when you reside near an uncapped land-fill (that was only capped about a decade ago) that has had tons of toxins, chemicals & pesticides dumped into it for 20 or 30 years that there could be some side effects.
Then you take into account that a factory (Sterling) is spewing chemicals into the air from their shoots, then you have another factory (Forest City) releasing upwards of 40,000 lbs (according to their own admission – probably far greater) of dichloromethaneor methalyne chloride and another factory (LESCO) that stored and handled hazardous materials. This is also not taking into effect 6 additional factories in and around the area as well.
Once again we see homes that were built well after 1921 (Sterling) was formed, on ground that was already toxic, most likely dumping grounds, where did the waste go from day number 1? The company dumped all over Wellington up until homes began being built and then they isolated the 8 acre landfill for future dumps. The reality is that the residents who lived on Prospect Street were the most heavily effected because they were surrounded by all the elements, not just above them, but also below them. The very ground their homes were built upon were permeated with chemicals and toxins, the air they breathed on a daily was polluted, the food they consumed from their crops that they grew were also contaminated from the very dirt they planted their seeds in. All in all a culmination of toxins enveloped them and anyone with even a slight predisposition would turn into a full blown MS case (or worse – because we didn’t even cover the cancer in Wellington or other illnesses that haven’t been fully documented).
The Certifiable Cause Summed Up: A combination of things, but the land itself was undocumented and treated flamboyantly prior to the 1970’s when construction began on schools and housing. This land, if dug into and examined will show that the homes were themselves in some cases built with the chemical dust, that the reservoir has nothing to do with the terrestrial and subterranean toxins that have been compounded for almost a century. It’s common sense. Same thing with the other clusters out there in the world. Far too many plants from the early 1920’s-1960’s that went undocumented and then built right on top of. The only reason this hasn’t been exposed is simply because of the money and the lawsuits that would rumble across the country. It would cause entire developments to become ghost towns, businesses to file bankruptcy, it’s all about the money folks (as usual).
What known chemicals effect Myelin? These include lead, cuprizone, lysolecithin, organotin, hexachlorophene and tellurium. Lead is a common environmental pollutant that causes hypomyelination and demyelination. Cuprizone and lysolecithin are toxins that frequently have been used experimentally in the context of investigating remyelination. Systemically administered cuprizone has a direct toxic effect on oligodendrocytes, whereas lysolecithin causes lysis of myelin sheaths themselves when administered focally. Triethyltin and hexachlorophene cause an edematous demyelination with splitting at the intraperiod line but without apparent damage to myelin-forming cells. Tellurium treatment of young rats causes a highly synchronous demyelination and remyelination in sciatic nerve that is associated with the inhibition of cholesterol synthesis by some metabolite of this element.
Why are women more affected? The fact that women are more prevalent to be diagnosed with MS is entirely related to the environment that surrounds them. These statistics are also still tailed from a time when men typically worked and women would stay home with their children. As a result, the men – who would typically work outside of Wellington in other surrounding cities got a break from the exposure. The ratio of women with MS in comparison to men may be as high as three or four to one. Married women or women with children who work are also more than likely to seek employment nearby as opposed to commuting at further distances. Once again not putting enough separation between them and the environmental factors of decades worth of abuse that have permeated the grounds, buildings and homes that they reside nearest.
The Bottom Line: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. As of 2013, the estimated number of people with MS worldwide has increased to 2.3 million, or about 33 people with MS for every 100,000 people, according to a global survey by the MS International Federation (MSIF). That’s up from 2.1 million in 2008. The United States has more than 400,000 cases of MS (or more than 20% of the worlds MS population). These heavy statistics and numbers in the United States should be a clear indicator of the real fact that the environment plays on those who contract the disease. Heavy industry, factories and chemical compounds that are both produced and spread in United States have an obvious clear impact on disease. America has been the worlds manufacturing hub since the 40’s and that translates into the very environmental pollution and carcinogens being highly compounded into certain areas just like Wellington.
SCUMBAGGED Tip: If you reside anywhere near Prospect St. in Wellington it would be a wise decision to move. This is the highest point in the cluster of individuals who have contracted MS. If you have any underlying effects that are unknown and you live here for any prolonged (or even short) period of time you are at greater risk than the rest of the city of being diagnosed with MS. It would be best to avoid this area in it’s entirety.