FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Concerned parents in Johnson County met with state health officials Monday night demanding answers about a possible link between child cancer rates and local environmental factors.
The message from the Department of Health was simple, though: There is no cancer cluster in Johnson County.
State health officials say they studied water, soil and other factors and found nothing linking the environment to cancer rates. They looked at 111 pediatric cancer cases from 1999-2013, and say those numbers, although tragic to individual families, are not above average considering Johnson County's population.
Susan Davidson was one of the parents who attended the meeting. She has a son with leukemia, and she's convinced there's more than coincidence to the proximity of cancer cases in the county.
"He lives part time with me in Greenwood, and there were about four different children diagnosed within six months having the same leukemia," Davidson said. "That seems more than a coincidence to me. But it's not just that: There are all of these children in Franklin that have all different kinds of cancer, and then there are more popping up all over the county."
Officials said a study that ran from 2009-2013 did find some contaminants in a well-water source in Franklin used by the Indiana American Water Company until 2013 – but they say the levels did not rise above the EPA's federal drinking standards, meaning the water was safe to drink.