Growing concern after 11 deaths
Tuesday 02 February 1993
'Number 25, that was Denis Hale's dad; 44, Wendy Williams, she had a skin cancer and her baby died of a neck tumour. Tommy Footman at number 51, he died of lung cancer. Doreen Heady at number 45, she died of a brain tumour . . . '
She draws up at Number 33, where in December 1991 Michael Stedman died of a brain cancer. Inside, Kay Stedman described how her son, a dance champion, fought a vain nine-year battle against the disease.
The residents of Denny Avenue have gathered together anecdotal evidence of 11 cancer deaths - two of them from brain tumours. Two other residents have survived similar cancers.
The avenue, a winding row of pre-war council homes in Waltham Abbey, Essex, backs on to a factory which for decades has produced a range of pesticides.
For many years, the avenue's residents say they have put up with coloured dusts, emissions and revolting smells from PBI, the Japanese-owned factory. It was part of life in Denny Avenue and provided much-needed jobs.
What made the community start to wonder if there was a link between the factory, its emissions and this cluster of cancers - regarded by a leading epidemiologist as 'statistically significant' - was when a chemical leakage from the factory last May caused many to complain of nausea.
Mrs Stedman said: 'We started wondering if the numbers of deaths in our road was far too many for coincidence. We are not saying that it is. But we want a public inquiry to find out.'
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