MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Duke Energy addressed concerns for the first time about coal ash and thyroid cancer.
There is no direct connection between the two, but families want answers.
There is an abnormally high number of thyroid cancer cases in two Iredell County zip codes, which are right across the lake from the Marshall Steam Station.
Duke Energy is giving data to experts researching thyroid cancer in Iredell County.
"When your 16-year old daughter gets cancer and is sick for a year before that diagnosis, you want to know what's going on," Dr. Scott Lynn said.
His daughter, Catheryn, who is a former Lake Norman High School student, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year. His ex-wife had the same diagnosis in 2013.
Researchers at Duke University sent a letter last fall asking him to take part in a study by sending samples of his daughter's finger and toenails, her sweat, his ground soil and drinking water.
"We can appreciate that people have concerns and they're looking for answers,” Duke Energy spokesman Bill Norton said.
Norton emphasized there is no known link between Duke Energy’s operations and thyroid cancer.
“We're giving them access to ash samples,” Norton said. “We're happy to contribute to the greater body of research.”
Lead researcher, professor Avener Vangosh, said they, “want to look at all possible sources and mechanisms that could be related to those people in the Mooresville area.”
He said they weren’t singling out coal ash, but it would be a part of the research. A good question he said is; “If there is a pathway that could cause people living in the area near the coal ash to be exposed through water, through drinking water, through breathing the air that may contain particles from coal ash.”
Lynn hopes it leads to answers.
“Somebody needs to be held accountable, so the families can be made whole again," Lynn said.
Lynn wants Duke Energy to move coal ash at the Marshall Steam Station into a lined-capped landfill further away from Lake Norman.
Duke Energy has said that would cost more than $1 billion and would take more than 30 years for no measurable environmental benefit.
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