Northeast Houston Coalition
Houston, Texas

Uniting to Restore Environmental Saftey and Public Health

What is the Greater Fifth Ward?

Historical contamination and environmental injustices have plagued the communities for far too long. Today, Greater Fifth Ward is made up of several smaller communities such as Fifth Ward proper, Kashmere Gardens, and Denver Harbor.

How'd those toxins get there?

Until the 1980s, several local industrial facilities used a chemical mixture called creosote to treat wood. The facilities today are known as the Union Pacific Railyard, the North Cavalcade Superfund Site, and the South Cavalcade Street Superfund Site.

What does this mean for our community's health?

Exposure to creosote can occur through contact with contaminated water or through inhalation of vapors. Health issues associated with creosote exposure include damage to the lungs and eyes, increased sensitivity to sunlight, stomach pains, skin rash, and kidney or liver problems.

What's being done for our community?

THEA is working with Greater Fifth Ward residents, advocacy groups, and government officials to ensure accurate information is distributed throughout the communities. When environmental advocates and communities unite, there is nothing that can stop the fight for public health and a safer environment.

What is a Cancer Cluster?
A cancer cluster is any instance where a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases are found to have occurred over a period over time within a certain geographic area.

The Greater Fifth Ward Cancer Cluster is a confirmed cancer cluster, and for decades residents have lived, worked, and recreated among toxic soup.

In 2019 and 2020, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) investigated the rates of several cancer types for the Greater Fifth Ward communities. The results revealed abnormally high rates of acute myeloid leukemia, and other cancers such as esophageal, larynx, liver, lung, and bronchus in adults, plus acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in children.

Copy of Houston Chronicle 7.8.20

Birth Defects in Greater Fifth Ward
In March of 2020, DSHS released a study indicating that six of the seven birth defects assessed in the Greater Fifth Ward were at rates higher than the averages in Harris County. There were, however, several inconsistencies in the methodology DSHS employed in this study, so we are urging DSHS to conduct a more accurate, comprehensive analysis of birth defect rates in the area.


Looking Forward

Great achievements can take place when communities and governments cooperate for the betterment of the environment. We need your support to continue the work we do with the Greater Fifth Ward. We have earned respect from government agency officials and from federal, state, and local policymakers – now we need your donation to help us keep our boots on the ground.


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