Plaintiffs claim Brookhaven landfill is making neighbors, teachers sick

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BELLPORT -

A Bellport neighborhood filed a notice of claim against the town of Brookhaven, saying the Brookhaven Town Landfill is making them sick.

Twenty-five neighbors, parents and teachers at the Frank P. Long Intermediate School in Bellport filed the claim Wednesday, which blames landfill odors, dust and emissions for a list of health ailments.

The school sits in the shadow of the landfill, which many have blamed for ongoing health issues such as asthma, thyroid cancer and connective tissue disease in teachers.

The plaintiffs' attorney Chris Murray claims they have medical and scientific experts that will testify about cancer-causing agents at the landfill.

“There would be expected, out of a work population of 105 individuals, to be about four or five instances of cancer. Here, there are about 35,” says Murray.

Murray says the town has 90 days to investigate and try to resolve the issues. If the parties can't come to an agreement, the 25 plaintiffs will formally file the lawsuit.

Theresa Palermo, a former teacher at the school, said during a news conference that she believes her battle with lung cancer was brought about by her time at the intermediate school.

“Many days, I went to school with my shirt over my mouth, gagging, trying to get into that building. And in 2005, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I am not a smoker. I lost my left lung in 2005,” she said. “I'm representing those teachers who could not be here today, who have died. And also the teachers who are still working in that building.”

News 12 reached out to town of Brookhaven, but did not hear back.

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