Tuesday, July 27, 1999

Village Park
receptive to firm’s
health survey

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


A law firm investigating the health of Village Park families says it has already got back 472 surveys.

That's nearly one-quarter of the surveys sent out by the California-based law firm Masry and Vititoe.

The firm is sending the surveys to James Dahlgren, a toxicology professor at UCLA, for further study.

Village Park residents have suspected for years that pesticides from nearby, former pineapple fields are to blame for high levels of illnesses and ailments. Studies to date, however, have not proven any connection.

Audrey Hyrne, an environmental researcher for Masry and Vititoe, said a sampling of the surveys shows a variety of ailments listed. Among the concerns listed are sinus complaints, such as nose bleeds, and gastrointestinal problems. Some families also have raised questions about infertility dealing with reproductive problems with women and low sperm counts in men.

Hyrne said there have been no surveys returned documenting Down syndrome despite several reports in the past about the condition affecting a large number of Village Park children.

Hyrne noted, however, that completed surveys also came from families reporting no ailments they believe are related to their environment and she encouraged others who have not had any adverse impacts to turn in their information. "Even if they've had nothing wrong, we want them to put in something," she said.

The high number of responses "implies people are very curious to know the facts," Hyrne said. "There've been a lot of statements made and articles written about Village Park and people want to know once and for all what is happening."

While the focus so far has been on current Village Park residents, Hyrne said, an advertisement will be appearing in local newspapers in the coming days seeking feedback from those who formerly lived there.

The law firm will be holding "walkabouts" in the next two to three weeks, consisting of teams that will include licensed medical professionals, that will go door-to-door to talk to those who may not have been reached by mail, she said.

Hyrne is encouraging all former and current residents to call her at the law office of Tam and Stanford at 522-9111.

Survey results will be presented by Dahlgren at Kaleiopuu Elementary School cafeteria from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 9.

The law firm and residents could decide then whether there are grounds for a lawsuit and whom they believe are the responsible parties.

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