An ongoing investigation by the Socialist Equality Party
Cancer hits nine Warrawong
In the past seven years, six neighbours in First Ave Warrawong and the next street, Bent St, have died of cancer. The wife of one of the victims also died of cancer in 1974 and two other residents are now dying.
The streets suffer fumes from three directions. They overlook the BHP steelworks, lie in the easterly windstream from the nearby Port Kembla copper smelter and back onto the Brambles road freight depot.
Four of the recent cases involve oesophageal cancer, a rare cancer suffered by only five people in 100,000. Yet the Illawarra Public Health Unit's director Dr Victoria Westley-Wise claims that the pattern is a coincidence.
Determined to reject any inquiry, Westley-Wise told the local media: "There would be millions of streets like this all over Australia." This assertion - obviously false on the basis of the cancer statistics - was contradicted by the NSW Cancer Council which described the number of deaths as "most unusual".
The First Ave cancer victims are:
No. 19. Mitra Simonovska, 47, stomach cancer, died 1989.
No. 24. Robert Davison, 68, oesophageal cancer diagnosed 1996.
No. 24. Joyce Davison, 61, breast cancer, died 1991.
No. 26. Dora Ljubicic, 66, intestine cancer, only weeks to live.
No. 28. Jose Alves, 58, oesophageal cancer, died 1994.
No. 68. Robert Arthur Hallett, 68, oesophageal cancer, died 1995.
No. 68 Teodisia Hallett, 51, bowel cancer, died 1974.
No. 11. Betty Woolmer, 65, oesophageal cancer, died 1993.