The Rosamond child cancer cluster

These are my neighbors. And Rosamond is the border town between Los Angeles County and Kern County neighboring Palmdale/Lancaster – The Antelope Valley.

You can't have my job, but I'll tell you a story

rosamond_2These photos are from the saddest project I ever worked on, the Rosamond childhood cancer cluster. I shot this over several months in 1988. There were two cancer clusters in Kern County at the time. The other was in McFarland, and Henry Barrios worked on that one. Probably because of the political clout and organizing abilities of the United Farm Workers, McFarland received most of the national media attention. But out in the desert, the people of Rosamond found themselves confronting an environmental horror of epic proportions: In a 10-year period, 9 children had come down with cancer, most of them with an extremely rare brain cancer called medullablastoma. The cancer was so rare that one health official said if two cases appeared in a city the size of Los Angeles in the same time period, officials would have considered it cause for alarm. Rosamond had 3,500 residents at theā€¦

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