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Fairfield Center, Maine is a town of deadly secrets. In the 1970s and ’80, tons of toxic waste was discreetly dumped and improperly burned in unlined gravel pits in the town. As a result, many residents died or are currently suffering a host of maladies, including several varieties of cancer, reports the Kennebec Journal. Nineteen residents are now suing two companies — Kimberly Clark Corporation and Sappi Fine Paper North America — for wrongful death, suffering, and loss of spousal consortium. Attorney Steven Silin, as well as other lawyers involved the suits, have told clients not to answer a public health questionnaire distributed by Town Councilor Philip Roy and Richard Kelly, an advisor for Planned Approach to Community Health (PATCH). Silin and the other attorneys fear their lawsuits could be harmed by the study. Nonetheless, Roy and Kelly are angered by the actions of Silin and the others. “I am furious,” said Roy. “[Silin] told me personally that he would not be putting a gag order on any government agency like PATCH.” Roy’s and Kelly’s task is to encourage Fairfield residents to share their opinions and concerns about cancer and other illnesses in Fairfield Center. They claim Silin’s letter hinders the process of shedding a veil of secrecy that has plagued the town for years. “A few million dollars [in lawsuit damages], is that worth the future of our youth and our town?” Roy asked. However, Silin alleges that he has no intention of hindering the town’s process to find answers. “I don’t want to have these people submit to a broad survey with no understanding of who is doing it and who is going to have access to it,” he explained.

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