MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - A civil rights group, investigating claims of a cancer epidemic in Moss Point, is considering to file a lawsuit against companies they believe are creating the toxins.
Wendol Lee is president of the group known as Operation Help. He spoke before a packed church in Moss Point and told the crowd that a Subra Environmental report shows there are toxic chemicals and contaminated ground water in the city and those factors are causing cancer. Lee said he and local lawyers will fight to get the residents help.
Several state agencies have publicly disputed the claims of a cancer epidemic.
"We are gearing up to file a class action lawsuit. We are getting prepared and we are going to do some more investigations," Lee said. "Basically, it will be against the factories that were here and produced these chemicals."
Several people who attended the meeting also said there is a problem in Moss Point.
"When chemicals go through the air, they are airborne and there are not just going to stop," Lucedale resident Vickie Wilkerson said.
"Come to Moss Point. Drink the water. Check the water. It has been the same thing since we were children, and it is bad water," Moss Point resident Herbie Thompson said.
The City of Moss Point, the Mississippi Health Department and the Singing River Health System's Regional Cancer Center all said they don't support these claims.
According to data collected by the state health department, since 2005, Jackson County has seen a rise in cancer deaths, but not at epidemic levels. Harrison County actually has more reported cancer deaths than Moss Point.
"I am not going to argue with nobody, what there experts found," Lee said. "What I am saying is that from what we got from our expert epidemiologist, when she did her research, we believe what she said. And I think we need to take if to a federal court. Let the court decide within the law."
Lee said he plans to file the lawsuit before the end of the month. He said he is not releasing the names of any specific companies or industries just yet. He said the lawsuit will not be filed against the City of Moss Point.