No evidence of Avalon Park cancer cluster, Florida Department of Health report finds

Class-action lawsuit claimed OUC plant was releasing contaminated properties into Avalon Park area

Stanton Power Plant image from OUC.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A Department of Health investigation into concerns about a possible cancer cluster near an east Orange County power plant found there is no evidence to substantiate those claims, a report released this week shows.

A year after residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the Orlando Utilities Commission claiming “combustion residuals” blown from two coal-fired systems from the Stanton Energy Center were exposing residents in the Avalon Park area to contaminated properties, a new report from the Florida Department of Health reveals there is no evidence to support those claims.

The Florida Department of Health sent a letter to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings on July 16 detailing its findings. According to an OUC spokesperson, the report was made public this week after it was discussed at a commission meeting. News 6 has asked Orange County officials why the report was not released to the public prior to that discussion.

“The radiologic test findings and the review of cancer data in addition to current scientific knowledge on the potential health risks associated with polonium and PAHs does not provide evidence to substantiate a suspected cancer cluster of pediatric brain cancers,” the letter to Demings read.

Leslie Mitchell, the attorney for the families who filed the class-action lawsuit in December, said they don’t buy the results.

“Based upon what we have seen, the testing that was reported is based upon incomplete sampling and an incorrect protocol, thus it could not and would not have captured the contaminants which we allege have been released from the Power Plant into the community,” Mitchell said in an email to News 6.

According to the report, the FDOH reviewed the number of brain and central nervous system cancers reported for people under 19 years old from 2005 - 2014 and 1981 - 2005 for the following zip codes: 32803, 32806, 32822, 32825, 32828, in Orange and Seminole counties, along with the state of Florida.

The review examined radiologic test findings for areas surrounding the Stanton Energy Center on South Alafaya Trail.

The Department of Health report also notes that in Florida and nationally, brain and blood cancers in children are the top occurring cancer types.

Read the FDOH findings in the report below: