Zavalla Cancer Concerns Continue

Zavalla is a town of less than 700. So when children there starting getting sick with cancer, many residents suspected it had something to do with the water. One East Texas doctor thinks they might be right.

"The majority of my sickest patients from the area around the lake, like Zavalla, Huntington, St. Augustine and Jasper. Angelina County and Jasper County have some of the highest cancer rates in Texas, and that's well documented," said Dr. Alexander Orlov of Lufkin Family Medicine.

Dr. Orlov tests patients from Zavalla in his clinic on a regular basis. According to his studies, many of them have higher concentrations of cancer causing toxins in their systems. So why might the water be making people sick?

"It's very deceptive. We live in a rural area and there's not much industry here. But we truly live in a global environment. So if there is a chemical plant in China, it comes our way in about 10 days, so it really doesn't take long," Orlov said.

Orlov said it's a good idea for Zavalla city officials to continue conducting tests on the water just to make sure, but believes the testing should go one step further.

"I believe the environment has to be tested. That's very important, but it may be more important to actually test the patients. You can actually find the toxins in the patients themselves. So it may be better idea instead of looking for the contaminants in the water, the air or the soil to actually test it in the patients."