INTRODUCTION: Until recently, asbestos was known as the major cause of a form of cancer known as mesothelioma.
GV Street in village of Karain and soft rocks containing zeolite seen above (2 shots)
GV PAN FROM Building with walls crumbling rock TO old woman leaving house
SV & CU Village elders at meeting (2 shots)
CUs Man washing in preparation for church service
SV Women carrying cauldron of water for use during funeral rites
GV Children in school playground
GV Children entering schoolhouse
SV PAN Children during lessons
CU & SV People showing rock crumbling away on rockface and buildings
SV SCU Professor Izzet Baris at Ankara Medical School speaking
CU Chest X-rays of cancer victims
CUs Zeolite particles found in rocks and cancer victims (2 shots)
SV Window in house in Karain being blown in by wind
CUs Man crumbling piece of rock of graveyard
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT) BARIS: "The symptoms of mesothelioma are severe pain and shortness of breath. They usually die within two years. We strongly believe that mesothelioma in Karain and (indistinct) is caused by a natural fibrous mineral named zeolite, which is found in their houses, kitchens and bedrooms. Zeolite was found in the stone used for building, in the patients' lung tissue and also in the samples of airborne dust taken from the houses with mesothelioma cases.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Until recently, asbestos was known as the major cause of a form of cancer known as mesothelioma. This is a rare tumour of the membranes which line the body's internal cavities. But in 1974, an epidemic of cancer struck a village in turkey's Cappadocia region to reveal another cause for this malignant disease.
SYNOPSIS: The epidemic took place in the eastern village of Karain, where 15 people out of its total population of 800 were stricken by mesothelioma. Extensive research by Turkish and British experts found the lung cancer was caused by zeolite, a soft mineral abundant in the rocks around the village.
Regular meetings are held by the village elders to make sure their people take maximum care to avoid contracting the disease. This film was taken on Saturday (28 January), when a funeral service for the latest victim of mesothelioma was taking place. Years of research in the area revealed no trace of asbestos. But there was plenty of zeolite, known locally as "water stone". It crumbles in time and spreads dust into the air. The dust was discovered in the tissues of victims during research, and its cancer-causing qualities were proved.
A number of the local children are expected to develop cancer in their thirties. the man who's leading the drive against mesothelioma, Professor Izzet Baris of Ankara University, says they contract the disease in early childhood by the continuous inhalation of zeolite.
An average of 10 patients a year have died since Professor Baris started his researches, a high rate for this disease. The cancer is now present in at least eight patients in Karain. The professor spoke about the growing problem:
Cancer in man is a group of over 100 related diseases that may arise in any of the body's tissues. The instance of human cancer varies from country to country. But in most Western countries, where infectious diseases are under control, cancers is one of the primary causes of death. To protect the people of Karain, the Turkish government has decided to move the village -- and another village with the same problem nearby -- to a different location. Both places were declared disaster areas when the outbreak of cancer was made known.