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Cancer clusters cause concern as congresswoman leads town hall in search for answers

Residents in the Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens areas of Houston are dealing with a higher than normal occurrence of cancer deaths in their communities.

Highest speculation centers on the coal tar “creosote” as a possible cause. It is the substance used to treat rail ties on the nearby Union Pacific tracks. The EPA has determined that creosote is a human carcinogen.

Sunday on Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) talks about the challenge of finding answers for the community. She recently held a town hall meeting for residents to ask questions and get answers. She said this is just the starting point.

“I want solutions and results and I don’t want to get it through blame,” she said. “I want to get it through acknowledgment and recognition that you contributed to this.”

Impeachment is also a topic as the House impeachment managers have been presenting their case to the Senate. Jackson Lee said that while she is back in her district, she is still connected to the House effort in Washington.

“We’ll all be engaged in the research and help of the team that’s going forward, then we will have to leave it to the Senate in their conscience to do the right thing and whether or not this is the way we want to run the presidency of the United States of America,Lee said.

Baylor St. Luke’s trains to identify human trafficking victims

Kimberly Williams, Baylor St. Luke's Project Coordinator, Human Trafficking Initiative
Kimberly Williams, Baylor St. Luke's Project Coordinator, Human Trafficking Initiative (KPRC)

A recent study estimated that tens of thousands of victims of human trafficking are in Southeast Texas. The challenge is identifying who they are and helping them. Health professionals now realize they can play a valuable role in that effort.

Kimberly Williams is the project coordinator for the Human Trafficking Initiative at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and said they are often on the front lines of the human trafficking battle.

“One of the points that was made about that study was that human trafficking victims come in contact with health care professionals, but health care professionals aren’t ready to identify or don’t have the knowledge and the education to identify victims,” Williams said.

Find out how that is changing as this initiative kicks into high gear.

Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall airs Sundays at 10:30 a.m.

More information

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D) 18th Congressional District

Kimberly Williams, Human Trafficking Project Coordinator, Baylor, St. Luke’s Medical Center


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