Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Sylvester Turner's Statement on the State's Cancer Cluster Investigations In Fifth Ward

January 20, 2021 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner issued the following statement today about the newly-released State Department of Health and Human Services' Cancer Cluster Investigations that included findings related to the former railroad creosote treatment facility in Kashmere Gardens. Read report here (.pdf).

“The finding of another cancer cluster in the Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens area highlights the significant adverse health impacts that have plagued areas of our city for decades. Even more distressing, this cluster involves children sickened with leukemia at nearly five times the expected rate.

“Late last year, the city’s first-ever cancer cluster was identified in the same area with greater-than-expected incidences of adult cancers of the lung, esophagus, and throat. Both cancer clusters are near legacy creosote contamination at a facility now owned by Union Pacific.

“Without the grassroots efforts of the community and the relentless support of the Houston Health Department, this cancer analysis may have never been conducted, and the community may have continued to suffer in silence.

“It is our responsibility to protect the interests of the families and children living in the immediate area. All Houstonians have the right to a safe and healthy environment no matter where they live.

The City of Houston will aggressively explore all possible avenues to bring meaningful relief to this suffering community.

"I am requesting that Union Pacific help to relocate affected residents and create a buffer between contaminated areas and homes in the neighborhood. The EPA and TCEQ must declare the area a Super Fund site. Someone needs to be held accountable for the healthcare costs of these families and specifically these children. ”