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Group will study Albany toxins

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 By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

November 5, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Could your neighborhood be filled with toxins that could make you sick? A non-profit group wants to find out. The E.P.A. has given the group, Albany Tools for Change, grant money to look into the problem.

The group hopes Albany city commissioners will support them. Two grants the organization recently received were worth more than $300,000.

When Carolyn Smith's husband first began having nosebleeds, she didn't think there was a major problem. "He suffered occasional nosebleeds and I assumed it was due to the overexertion, being outside for so long."

But in 1999, Dr. Clifford Smith, died from a rare from of nasal cancer. Ms. Smith doesn't know if her husband's cancer was directly related to the area where they lived, but she became suspicious when she learned about other reports of cancer.

 "There have been several incidences of cancer within the community ranging from young people from age four, up to seniors in the community."

That's why the Tools for Change non profit was formed. They are looking for toxins that could be responsible for causing health problems for people who live in East and West Albany. And recently received two major grants, one from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue the work they are doing.

"As a result of the incidences of cancer within the community and our concern for whether or not toxins in the air or in the environment may have been a [cause] of it is why this particular group formed."

 Now they are working to build a collaborative to continue their work. They'll look for toxins around Alice Coachmen Elementary School and several neighborhoods including Country Club Estates, College Park, College Heights, Evergreen and Towne and Country.

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