DENVER — Erin Brockovich is offering advice to Colorado residents who are concerned about the cancer investigation at Metropolitan State University.
“Be vigilant. Keep talking about it just in case more people get sick. Keep track of those people. Keep them together as a group,” she said. “It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. You won’t always get the answers that you need right away.”
Brockovich, who uncovered a massive water contamination scandal in the 1990s, rose to fame after Julia Roberts portrayed her in a movie about the multi-million-dollar case.
The Problem Solvers tracked her down in Denver at a National Court Reporters Association conference, where she was a keynote speaker.
“Don’t give up. You don’t have to panic. Keep asking questions. Stay organized,” she said. She advised concerned citizens to create a Facebook group or to log on to her website.
Two independent firms conducted comprehensive environmental testing after Metropolitan State University officials learned of four employees who worked in the same immediate office area who had each been diagnosed with cancer.
The school said the investigation found no link between the cancers they had identified and the building in which they worked.
Eddie Culpepper, whose mother worked at the college, said he felt more unsettled when he learned of the investigation even though researchers found no link between the cancers and the campus building.
His mom, Roberta Fernandez, died of brain and lung cancer in 2012.
“My question is: Did I lose my mom too soon?” he said. “I don’t know if it is (a problem) or it isn’t, but if it is a possibility that this is where it was caused from, then it needs to be fixed. There’s a lot of people out there that when you lose a loved one, it hurts. And you don’t forget.”
Brockovich said it is important for people to ask questions and to research the history of the land in the area and other factors that link the cancer patients.
“It doesn’t have to be a blame game – that there is a problem here and it’s the school’s fault or it’s an industry’s fault or an environmental issue,” said Brockovich, “But it is about obtaining and looking at information as to why a small group of people have similar diseases or cancers, so we can learn more and possibly look at more solutions for public health and welfare.”