Breathless: A community blames industry for their declining heal - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Breathless: A community blames industry for their declining health

Posted: Updated: April 30, 2013 09:29 AM

CROSSETT, AR. (KNOE 8 News) - An Arkansas community claims they're struggling to breathe, and some are blaming the source of their livelihood.

Hazel Parker lives in Crossett, a mill town in Ashley County, Arkansas.

"I've lived here all my life, I'm fifty-one years old. I have three daughters and four granddaughters. I love working in my yard," says Parker.

Parker could spend all day planting and pruning in her flower beds, but her body won't allow it.

"Every day's a strain, some days I can't walk on my feet, shortness of breath everyday, every little thing I try to do it will get me down."

Parker says she suffers from lupus, fibromyalgia, asthma, sinus issues, and her most recent diagnosis, congestive heart failure. She has to take dozens of medicines everyday. Is it genetics or something else?

"Even when we are inside the house it just seeps in, the odor is just terrible," says Parker.

She blames the environment, and says it tainted by the same industry she worked for. She once called it her livelihood, but now says it's taking her life. But there are two sides to every story.

"In no way are those health issues related or caused by Georgia Pacifics' operations in Crossett," says Teresa Walsh, Georgia Pacific.

Both sides claim to have science on their side. Wednesday night, in part 2 of 3 in this special report, we take a look at community surveys, and environmental studies that show Parker isn't the only sick resident pointing the finger at her former employer.

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