Residents on 'cancer road' concerned as every family there has suffered from cancer
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Featured Image Credit: Keith Schneider / Circle of Blue
Residents on a rural county road are experiencing abnormal levels of cancer.
According to reports, over the past 40 years, 15 people have been diagnosed with a variety of cancers and tumors, with seven of those dying as a result.
It's even led to the area being known as 'cancer road'.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, one of those affected, Brian Bennerotte, said doctors found a huge cancerous mass 'the size of a basketball' around his heart.
The truck driver claims 'every family along here was affected'.
"We think this was caused by the drinking water and then the nitrates in the water," the 60-year-old told the outlet. "That is our feeling of what caused this spiral in cancer cases.
"There is cancer in every family."
It's thought that commercial fertilizers from farms have contaminated the water supply, leading to an increase in cancer in the area.
And tests carried out by local officials have actually found high levels of nitrates in the water - though they claim it's no higher than the rest of the county.
But it's not just Mr Bennerotte who has fallen ill in his family, his dad, three brothers, and one of their wives have all died from cancer.
HIs sister Myrna and other brother Stuart have also been diagnosed with the disease, too.
Mr Bennerotte says the cancer has caused him to suffer with a plethora of other illnesses.
"I have had numerous medical emergencies since then," he said. "Tomorrow, for example, I am going to the Mayo Clinic for a heart valve replacement.
"The cancer has weakened my immune system, my lung capacity and my heart.
"Everything is more difficult to do. As far as walking and catching my breath, there are numerous issues. Getting around can be a chore from time to time and the older I get, the worse it seems to be getting."
But he's not alone; Scott Glarner, who grew up on the road, says his family has been impacted over the years, with his mom LaVonne diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-1970s, when she was just 35.
Scott himself was also diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma back in 2006.
Mr Bennerotte is now campaigning for the legal limit of nitrates in water, which is currently 10 parts per million, to be brought down.
Paul Mathewson is the science program director at Clean Wisconsin.
He said it was incredibly concerning to see such a high number of cancer cases in the small strip of Minnesota.
Agreeing with Mr Bennerotte, he said: "In the past decade or so there’s been a lot of new research making a strong, compelling case that even at nitrate levels that are much lower than 10 parts per million you’re seeing these increased risks.
"There needs to be greater awareness. The science is out there."