A $400,000 federal grant has been awarded to Kansas University Medical Center to study whether the health of residents in southeast Kansas has been harmed by the incineration of hazardous wastes.
The Environmental Protection Agency said the university's Center for Environmental and Occupational Health would conduct the three-year study.
About 50 southeast Kansas residents will be selected for the study, which also will sample air for one year and look at the incidence of cancer and other health problems.
Hazardous waste is burned at four plants in southeast Kansas: the Ash Grove Cement Co. in Chanute; the Aptus/Laidlaw incinerator in Coffeyville; the Lafarge Corp. in Fredonia; and Heartland Cement Company in Independence.
Some southeast Kansas residents have said the occurrence of childhood cancer is elevated in the area. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment confirmed in 1995 that Labette County had elevated rates of childhood cancer.