Children in a small Nevada town are stricken with leukemia.

It was a leukemia epidemic

16 children got cancer in one small town


For many who lived in Fallon, Nevada, it seemed like the perfect place to raise a family.  But there was something terrible happening to the children of Fallon.  It all began with Dustin Gross.  According to his mother, Brenda, she was giving her son a bath when she noticed bruises on his back and arms:

“I asked him what was he doing?  Why did he have these bruises?  And he told me he was playing with his friend on the Big Wheels.  And I thought, OK, that makes sense, that’s where the bruises came from.  But then the next day, my husband had noticed a lot more bruises and brought it up to my attention.  I saw he had bruises all over his body, his arms, his legs, his stomach, his back, and little red blood specks on the surface of his skin, and I knew that something was wrong at that point.”

Was it solvents from the nearby air base?

Brenda took Dustin to the local hospital and he was immediately transferred to the UC Davis Medical Center.  Blood was drawn and according to Brenda, a diagnosis was made:

“The doctor told us that Dustin had leukemia.  I knew what leukemia was, I knew it was a cancer but I didn’t actually realize how severe.”

Brenda soon learned the seriousness of Dustin’s condition.  Acute lymphoblastic leukemia strikes children, usually between the ages of two and nine.  It causes the production of millions of defective white blood cells, destroying the immune system, and can be fatal.  Dustin underwent aggressive chemotherapy:

“Seeing him lie there so lethargic and so lifeless. I think that’s probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to deal with.  It was not easy.”

… Radiation in the soil?

Within weeks of Dustin Gross’s diagnosis, two more local children were also found to have leukemia.  The cancer treatment facility at the local hospital, run by Barbara deBraga, was overwhelmed:

“Even at that point I was just thinking, it’s just a coincidence.  It’s just a terrible coincidence, but it’s just a coincidence.  But then shortly after the third, we got a referral for a fourth.”

Barbara deBraga feared she was looking at an epidemic.  It appeared to be what experts call a “cancer cluster.”  She contacted the state assemblyperson for the Fallon area and an official investigation was launched.  As the disease struck victims number five and six, state epidemiologist, Dr. Randall Todd prepared an all-out inquiry:

“A couple of days after, a seventh case was diagnosed.  And so, this started to kind of make the hair on the back of my neck stand up a little bit.  It was a frightening time.”

An alarmed Dr. Todd immediately sought a common denominator shared by all the victims that might explain the epidemic.  However, interviews with parents produced no answers.  And Dr. Todd watched helplessly as new cases continued to appear.  Zach Beardsley was the ninth child diagnosed with childhood leukemia.  Zach’s mother, Tammi Beardsley, was shocked when she heard the news:

“When I heard I was number nine in a cancer cluster, at that time my child was so ill that all I could think about was how do I get out of this mess with a healthy child?” 

… arsenic in the water?

The search for the common denominator continued.  What did all these children share that might explain their illness?  Tammi Beardsley opened her house to scientific investigators to help augment the investigation:

“There was a team of people that came into our home and vacuumed, took dust samples, air quality samples, water samples, biological testing, blood tests.”

But these tests were inconclusive.  Perhaps the problem was not in the children’s homes but in the surrounding environment.  Was there something unique about Fallon that could explain why a cancer cluster appeared there?  According to Dr. Todd, researchers began with the water:

“The one thing that makes this community sort of stand out is that they have one of the highest rates of naturally occurring arsenic in their water supply of any place in the nation.”

Researchers also found mercury in a nearby lake and several canals—places where children were known to play.  There were other possibilities, as well.  Pesticides had contaminated nearby farms and underground atomic testing during the sixties had left traces of radiation. But according to Dr. Todd, scientists failed to link any of these factors to the cancer cluster:

“Working on this really is like trying to do a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.  What we can say, is that we likely will not have the complete puzzle put together at the end of this investigation.”

There was one other possibility.  Fallon is located ten miles from a naval air station used to train fighter pilots.  According to Dr. Todd, the jet fuel contains benzene, which is known to cause cancer:

“There is a pipeline which transports jet fuel.  The pipe comes right through and underneath Fallon and winds up at the Fallon Naval Air Station. We wondered, was there fuel getting into the water supply?  But we didn’t find any evidence that the water had been contaminated with jet fuel.”

While authorities searched for answers, the parents of the children tried to remain optimistic.  After two years of intensive chemotherapy, Dustin Gross celebrated his “end of treatment” party.  According to his mother, Brenda, her son’s cancer was finally in remission:

“I am worried for my family and my other children, and for Dustin still.   I will never give up on pushing the research to find what has caused childhood leukemia in a cluster in this community.  Obviously continued research is going to get us closer and closer.  And I feel that we will find it, but we cannot let up.”

A total of 16 children developed leukemia in a span of five years.  Experts now believe that ground deposits of cobalt and tungsten may have caused the outbreak in Fallon.

External Link: The Nevada Department of Health

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season twelve with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis FarinaVarious seasons available now on Hulu.



  1. Avatar

    Linda latham

    I was raised in indianapolis Indiana and on DEC 1995 my father was diagnosed with renel cell carececoma and fought q fought battle this camcer came in for revenge he fpught it off in 89 and became ill in 95 so threw out the time he was ill in nov 96 my father lost his life and i started to relize tgat 28 people have came down wotg same kind cancer within a 10 miles of our house some was as close as a stret away anf yrs later my mother has to go in and have her kidney taken put because she had renal cell carcecoma tge same cabcef my father pased with she is currently doimg ok thabk god but now my brother gas started seeing a camcer dr they havent said what limd he has but it has me scared vonsidering my fathe passed at 45 and my brother is 45 so im really worried o believe tgefe is a lroblem qitg either the air the water or the soil because gow can so many have same kind cancer and not be related the only ones wgo was blood related is my brother and my mother but my mom and dad are not blood related but she had same konda camcef my niece died of brain cancer at 16 and found out afyer warss the water line was so old that ot was what caused her tp geg brain camcer and 3 kods afyer her moved in same apartment and they also passes from brain camcef so sometgong need done to figire out what is happenong we all deserve to live long and helthy lifes i pray for all of u qho have had cancer or still has camcer and ur familys my heart gpes put tp u all


  2. Avatar

    Lori Parry

    Several children in Marietta, OH were diagnosed with leukemia after being born in the same hospital about three and a half years. They have been searching for a cause without luck.


  3. Avatar

    Samantha M

    I have Leukemia. I was diagnosed in 1994 at 4 years old. I was one of 3 children in my small town of Gadsden, Alabama to get this in the exact same year. We all lived within a 5 mile radius of each other. One of the other kids actually lived a mile from me on the exact same road!! I hope to find out any information regarding why this happened!!!


  4. Avatar

    Frank Sayer

    Everyone here has forgotten a new attachment on everyone house called Smart Meters that releases RF Radiation daily especially around the meter itself. Many of these meters are mounted on the bedroom walls outside. The radiation will cover and extend up to ten feet into the bedroom. While children are sleeping at night and the bed is next to the wall where their head lays they absorb RF into their bodies. PLC- Power Line Carrier Systems that monitor your daily usage and read the meter are turned on most of the time. Take a AM Radio and get near the meter and you can hear the rushing sound of energy being expelled. This system has been banned in Europe because of the increase of childhood Leukemia rates were so high after they were installed. Not all homes would be affected, if they are not mounted near bedrooms. They have to be located where people are exposed long periods of time. Check your home and see where the meter is located. This system also affects all the wiring in your home when the system is turned on to monitor loads. Even your refrigerator will throw off radiation or anything that is metal and hooked to the system.


  5. Avatar

    Lynda Cowart

    Small town Ocilla Georgia is believed to have something in the water, arsenic maybe. There is a lady here that is investigating it. Her name is Janet McMahan aka the Water Lady. Her husband is a doctor here. There is an air force base about 40 to 50 miles south of Ocilla in Valdosta Georgia. The McMahan’s lost there youngest son a couple of years ago due to cancer. Several more children in surrounding counties have been diagnosed with cancer.


  6. Avatar


    St Francis County, in Mo, has a lot of children with cancer lately. Bonne Terre, Mo has contamination in the drinking water. We get reports all the time. Erin Brockovich came to our area, closed down two swimming lakes in one of our state parks. As soon as she left, they opened them. We need an investigation, and a remedy


    • Avatar

      Bonnie Rogers

      They are spraying the air with coal ash waste and other metals. The rain in the US is sometimes radioactive. It’s called geoengineering and they have been doing it for a long time but now it’s admitted by Harvard University. They call it the solar shield. Calcium carbonate is one toxic ingredient and it’s a waste from the fly ash. Then there is the GWEN towers with high frequencies.


  7. Avatar

    C. Johnson

    Cancer clusters are not the only kind of clusters we have in the U.S. There are all kinds of them. a-z. Autism Lung ailments, stomach issues, severe allergies. Years ago (early 2000) I tried to get people to map their family ailments but it didn’t catch on.


  8. Avatar

    Fred Overcashier

    I came down with leukemia in my 60ty and my doctor said that the cause of my illness was from the jet fuel getting into the drinking water system (1967-1971 Vietnam). Now I wait over 10 years for the VA to pay for the damage. I lost my home and everything I own for the military related illness


  9. Avatar


    I remember years back Vince Neil of Motley Crue had a young daughter that was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He discovered there had been numerous cases of cancer in the community and complaints had been made against a nearby company that had been dumping toxic waste. He sued and got a huge settlement, not that he needed it, but it sure sent a message. It’s a shame you have to be a rich celebrity to get anything done about things like this. RIP Skylar Neil


  10. Avatar

    Marjorie Smith

    There was a child cancer cluster in Rochester, N.Y.A@A
    I do not live there but was told about it. Sorry, I do not remember the date or the year it happened.


  11. Avatar


    it could be a new epidemic
    I hope it doesn’t continue


  12. Avatar

    Mary Jaskolski

    I live in a small town in northern WI. Most people with cancer in the area go to the local clinic up here. and there are a lot. Sometimes we need to go to Marshfield. which is a bigger facility. They have a place called hope lodge where you can stay for free if you are there for some kind of cancer care or tests. I was there once and they have a map on the office wall so you can put a stick pen in the area in which you live. I was astounded by how many stick pins were in the area in which I live. Literaly thousands. I couldn’t even find a place to put mine. This is a very small area. I don’t know if there is something wrong with our water or air or dirt or something. Something is going on here. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 yrs ago, and has reoccurred three times. I just can’t get rid of it. Almost all the placed up here have separate wells and septics. So I really don’t know whats going on. but if you or someone would look into it, you would think there is something going on too. Years ago there was also mining going on. maybe that has something to do with it. a lot of people have died up here from different types of cancer. and many are going through chemo and radiation their second and third times. My name is Mary Jaskolski, 2607 Len Ellen Cir. ,. Sayner, WI 54560


    • Avatar

      Bonnie Rogers

      Is there any coal ash dump sites or coal factories there. Or maybe fracking. The factory chicken farms take the chicken manure and spray it in the air. My friend’s wife of 42 years died of cancer and they lived near a perdu farm.


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1.2 In addition, we may share this information with advertisers or other third parties that are not part of the Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. family on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose your identity or contact information.

ARTICLE 2. Online Surveys/Contests
2.1 From time to time, we may conduct online surveys and contests. These may ask you for contact information (like name or email address) and demographic information (like zip code or age).
2.2 We may use this contact information from our surveys and contests to provide you with information about our company and promotional material on behalf of some of our partners, and to contact you when necessary.

ARTICLE 3. Shopping/Commercial Services
3.1 This Website may offer shopping services, which may be offered by us or by a firm that operates a store under contract with us. If our Website offers shopping or other commercial services, you will use a customer order form to request information, products, and services. The order form will ask you to give us contact information (like name or email address), financial information (like account or credit card numbers), and demographic information (like zip code or age).

3.2 We will use the financial information that you provide to bill you for products and services. By giving our Website your credit card and related personal information, you are authorizing our store to give that information to the merchant and credit card company in order to confirm and fulfill your order.

3.3 We will use contact information from the order form to fulfill your orders. We may also use contact data to get in touch with you when necessary. We will not otherwise use or distribute your financial information without your prior approval.

ARTICLE 4. Public forums
4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at:

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.