Firm seeking factsBy Gordon Y.K. Pang
in Village Park
A law firm hoping to gather data on what some believe is an abnormal number of illnesses in Village Park has enlisted the support of the area's elected officials.
About 2,000 people live in Village Park, a 20-year-old community mauka of Ewa.
There has never been conclusive evidence why there appears to be a large number of residents suffering from ailments that include birth defects, learning disabilities, heart defects and testicular disorders.
But many in the area suspect that the illnesses are connected to pesticides in the soil where Village Park homes were built. The land surrounding the subdivision is used to grow pineapple.
"Up until this point, we've heard rumors, stories, different kinds of related experiences from the people at Village Park," said Audry Hyrne, an environmental researcher for the California-based law firm of Masry and Vititoe.
"We want to find out whether or not these are true and have the data to provide back to you," Hyrne said.
The firm represents people who live in Village Park and as far away as Mililani and Wahiawa, she said.
No lawsuit has been filed, Hyrne said, but the attorneys want to see if they can establish a link between the pesticides and the illnesses.
"The only way we're going to be able to find that out is to ask those people that are injured where they were, what they had in common and make those connections," she said.
Hyrne said the only common denominators among the different cases of illnesses are "the water they drink and soil that they live on."
Potential defendants include companies who used, delivered or manufactured the pesticide, Hyrne said. Government entities are not expected to be sued, she said.
Hyrne noted that Del Monte Oahu Plantation in 1977 accidentally spilled 495 gallons of pesticides into the nearby Kunia Well.
An investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency completed earlier this year concluded that the subdivision's groundwater came from a different aquifer than the Kunia Well.
"This is an opportunity for us to gather information not knowing what kind of results we're going to get," Councilwoman Rene Mansho said. "I think it's better for us to look at factual data and maybe (gain) piece of mind."
State Rep. Mark Moses (R, Ewa-Kunia-Makakilo) said stories have circulated for years about soil from Kunia used as cover for the lots in Village Park.
"There is a chance pesticides have been moved in the soil to the Village Park area, and who knows where else," Moses said.
Sen. Brian Kanno (D, Ewa Beach-Makakilo-Waipahu) said the survey of residents will work in concert with a Health Department project to study soil samples in Village Park.