Researchers study soil to find possible cause of thyroid cancer cases

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — People have been desperate to protect their families for years as a high number of unusual thyroid cancer cases have been diagnosed in their communities.

Now, Channel 9 has learned the search for answers has shifted to the soil.

[Iredell Co. officials respond to state report on thyroid cancer cases in area]

Local and state leaders came together in Iredell County Thursday to answer questions from citizens and realtors.

They also talked about a new study.

Researchers dug into the ground to collect soil samples from five school sites: Lake Norman High School, Lake Norman Elementary School, Mooresville Middle School, Shepherd Elementary School, Lake Shore Middle School and Lake Shore Elementary School.

Lake Shore Elementary and Middle schools are on the same property.

North Carolina Sen. Vickie Sawyer, R District 34, who represents Iredell County, said the researchers chose sites that had construction projects during peak years when coal ash was used as structural fill in construction projects.

Channel 9 has reported on concerns over coal ash used as structural fill in construction projects countywide.

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Many of those locations are posted on state websites:

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Channel 9 learned Thursday there could be others in neighborhoods that even the state is unaware of.

The Department of Environmental Quality sent a statement that said, “State rules and regulations prior to the early 90s did not require that DEQ be notified by the owner of a property receiving coal ash as fill."

A report by the Department of Health and Human Services found no link between coal ash and thyroid cancer.

Residents said they still want as much research into the topic as possible.

Results from the latest school study are expected in March.

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