08/30/2012 10:43 am ET

Miami-Dade Commissioners Fear Cancer Cluster, Want Health Departments To Investigate

Two county commissioners are pushing for the county health department to investigate what they believe could be a cancer cluster in Miami.

Commissioners Jean Monestime and Barbara J. Jordan sponsored a resolution stating that there have been an “unusually high number” of cancer cases among residents living close to a metal recycling facility near Hialeah. Should the resolution pass, the commission will ask the Florida Department of Health and the Miami-Dade Health Department to investigate whether it is the result of a cancer cluster in the community.

The South Florida Business Journal reports that concerned residents spoke at a zoning meeting on July 17, saying that that there had been eight cancer deaths from residents in the area and a ninth resident close to death. All patients lived close to the King Metal Recycling Facility at 8600 NW 36th Ave., which is adjacent to Broadmoor Elementary School and an Amtrak station.

Commission Chairman Joe Martinez pointed out that the facility was cited with a code violation for not surrounding the plant with walls, and Jordon told the Journal that there were contamination issues linked to the plant.

“We have to verify if what the residents are saying is true,” Jordan said. “We must check it out and make sure we aren’t getting misinformation. If they verify it, then it’s a serious issue."

The resolution will go before the commission at the Sept. 4 meeting.