UPDATED: Erin Brockovich to Investigate Fridley's Elevated Cancer Rates

The consumer advocate is asking Fridley residents to send her information on incidents of cancer.

Updated below. Consumer advocate Erin Brockovich is lending her star power to Fridley with an investigation into the . Brockovich is known for her case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which led to a $300 million settlement and to her portrayal by Julia Roberts in a 2000 movie dramatization.

The Fridley Cancer Cluster Facebook group, started by Jason McCarty about two months ago, has ballooned to more than 440 members actively sharing anecdotes about friends, family and neighbors who contracted cancer after living in the city.

Add a case you are familiar with to our .

State epidemiologist John Soler found that than the state average between 2000 and 2009, with lung cancer rates significantly higher, according to data from the Minnesota Cancer Surveillance System.

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McCarty received an email from Brockovich on Thursday in which she promised to look into the city’s cancer rates.

“I am always saddened by the number of emails I receive from people who have been affected by cancer,” Brockovich wrote in the email. “I am deeply sorry to hear about the situation in Fridley, Minnesota, and will be investigating this matter further.”

Bob Bowcock, Brockovich’s environmental investigator, posted a message on the Fridley Cancer Cluster’s message board asking Fridley residents to send him information (he included his email address: bbowcock@irmwater.com) and cautioning that the investigation did not mean that there was necessarily any danger.

“I do not have any information that there is any immediate health related concerns, and the community water system is presently in compliance for all drinking water standards,” Bowcock wrote.

Update (1:15 p.m.): Brockovich gets more than 2,500 requests annually, Bowcock said, adding that he became aware of the Fridley Cancer Cluster Facebook group after reading on Wednesday. He then found McCarty’s email and notified Brockovich.

Fridley has been placed among Brockovich's 100 most urgent cases, he said—the "feet on the ground" category:

"This one went straight to the level of the 100 because they’re organized, they’re well-organized, they’re very forthcoming with their data, there are several superfund sites and cleanup sites—all the things lined up. Every time we have a community that’s as well-organized as this one, we’ll help them."

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Larry Kazmierkoski March 24, 2012 at 04:50 PM
The 6000 block in and around the 6th, and 7th, St area had many cancer deaths, and some with cancer that are survivors, My 45 year old daughter was just diagnosed with breast cancer we lived in that area for almost 20 years
Pat Sibert March 28, 2012 at 06:32 PM
My family has lived on the 6300 block of Madison since 1958 and 3 out of 5 have died from cancer since 1972 and another died of emphysema so now I am the only one left of our immediate family. I am very concerned about this and hope they can find the source so others can be saved.
George Linngren April 07, 2012 at 12:55 AM
How are all these hours of research funded? is Erin Brockovich doing this pro bono?
Vicky Paulson April 07, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I lived in Fridley from 1955 to 1964 and we lived along the Mississippi on 6526 East River Road and Mississippi Street. As a group of kids that played down by the river we witnessed many things that were dumped in the river and buried on lands. Back then there was alot of farming (use of land chemicals) and the use of Deet to kill insects was sprayed up and down the road in a fog. Our Uncle that worked for a large company near us used to bury barrels of chemicals in the grounds around Fridley. We were only children back then but many adults didn't live long. My friend next door Mother died of cancer at 34yrs. and my Mother died of cancer at 56yrs. Many of the neighbors around us died of cancer as well. I pray this information will help.
Solita Reum November 24, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Me and my family have lived in Fridley since 1997. Everything has always appeared to be pretty good. My son came down with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (blood cancer) in 2008 at age 19. We have no history of cancer in our family. Thank you Erin Brockovich and your entire team for looking into this for us all in the Fridley community! I have since had a complete Culligan water filter system installed at our house. Blessings to all who have lost relatives to cancer!!!


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