Scientists at the University of Arizona say high concentrations of tungsten and cobalt in the air appear to be the source of a leukemia cluster which has killed three of 17 children affected.
They are pointing to Kennametal, which operates a tungsten
smelter ten miles north of Fallon and a tungsten-carbide
manufacturing plant in Fallon.
Plant officials say, however, that their plants don't discharge
tungsten, cobalt or dust.
Tungsten is naturally occurring in Nevada, so scientists
couldn't tell if the source of the metal in Fallon was natural or
levels of the metal tungsten in Fallon residents' water
Air studies by Arizona scientists last year also showed that
Fallon has 13 times more tungsten in its dust than other Nevada
cities and towns tested and has high levels of the metal in tree
Tungsten hasn't been shown to cause leukemia, but scientists
have linked the metal to mutations in human cells and to tumors in
rats when tungsten is combined with cobalt.