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Plant City residents fear rampant cancers

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PLANT CITY, Fla., Aug 20, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Hundreds of Plant City, Fla., residents living near a Coronet Industries Inc. plant met with government officials, complaining of rampant illnesses.

The Tampa Tribune said the residents are blaming Coronet -- a 91-year-old Japanese-owned firm that makes phosphates for use in animal feeds -- for contaminating land, air and water.

A county health department official said a study is just beginning to determine whether cancer rates are higher around Coronet and, if so, what is to blame. The study will also include several old landfills in the area, midway between Tampa and Orlando.

About 700 people attended the public hearing Tuesday, complaining of multiple illnesses including prostate and breast cancer, numerous miscarriages, and various skin, breathing and bowel problems.

Those attending the meeting included Nancy Eichler, a representative of the San Francisco law firm where famed environmental crusader Erin Brockovich-Ellis heads the research department. Eichler said she expects Brockovich- Ellis to arrive in Plant City within a few weeks to investigate a possible case against Coronet.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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