Doctor plans Minden door-to-door survey of cancer diagnoses

An Oak Hill physician who is establishing a registry of Minden cancer patients is asking former employees of Shaffer Equipment in Minden to contact him.

Dr. Hassan Amjad, who is studying a link between PCB exposure and cancer, is also beginning a door-to-door survey in Minden to ask residents to list the cases of cancer in their households, he told The Register-Herald.

He said he also is interested in finding Shaffer’s employees who were exposed to PCB.

Amjad charged last Tuesday that, despite two EPA clean-up efforts in Minden during the 1980s and, in 1992, sealing of one part of the Shaffer mine site due to PCB contamination, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not monitored employee exposure to PCB at the company.

“EPA has been negligent in its duty and should have asked OSHA to monitor the workplace and monitor employees’ illnesses,” Amjad said. “This is a serious breach of protocol.”

Currently, Amjad is collecting a list of Shaffer’s employees and making them aware of the dangers of PCB exposure.

The EPA lists PCB as a “possible” carcinogen.

“It is almost forensic journalism because people moved away or died,” Amjad said of his effort. “So unless someone tells us, there is no way to find out.”

Minden residents estimate that one-third of their small community has died or been diagnosed with cancer, as well as several pets. Amjad said he told EPA agents in the 1980s that he believed PCB exposure was causing a higher number of cancer cases among his patients from Minden.

He will begin the door-to-door effort with…