ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) – A study of more than 1,000 east Alabama residents who live amid one of the world’s worst pockets of PCBs contamination found health concerns including heart problems and diabetes that researchers said could be linked to the chemical.

The results reinforced the worries of residents who have spent their lives near a plant that once manufactured polychlorinated biphenyls, banned in 1977 because of fears they could cause a variety of health problems.

“I’m real concerned because I see a lot of people dying,” said Lynn Goodson, 49, who suffers from diabetes and is convinced PCBs caused his health problems. “It makes me worry about what will happen to me.”

About 150 residents gathered Tuesday night to hear the results of a group of in-depth studies about how PCBs may have affected people living in Anniston, located about 60 miles east of Birmingham. The $3.2 million government-funded study measured the PCB exposure of more than 1,000 people, and researchers combined the data with results of health and IQ tests to draw conclusions about PCB effects.

Dr. Scott Bartell, of the University of California-Irvine, said that one of the most compelling findings was that residents have elevated rates of heart problems and diabetes when compared to the state and nation.

“These problems seem to be connected, at least for some population groups, to PCB exposure,” Bartell said.

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