Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk revealed that his father has been diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time, and said that it might be because a gas company “contaminated” the water at his childhood home.
Berk, 38, tweeted the news and claimed that Conoco, a gas company now owned by Phillips 66, incorrectly stored chemicals in his hometown that leeched into the well water.
“My father was diagnosed with cancer for the 4th time this week. @Conoco @ConocoPhillips contaminated the well-water of my childhood home with propane, butane and methane that they irresponsibly stored in underground caverns,” he wrote on Twitter.
Berk said that he can’t say for sure that Conoco is to blame, and did not include further evidence, but stated that the company “manipulated” his parents into signing a non-disclosure agreement and would try to sway them with freebies like a child’s hard hat, which Berk is wearing in an old photo he included in the tweet.
“Can I know for sure that this is the cause of my father’s cancer? No, but it very well could be, and it makes me scared for me and the rest of my family’s future health,” he said. “PS… this hard-hat was one of the many ways they tried to buy us off to keep us quiet. They may have manipulated my parents into signing an NDA, but I sure as hell didn’t.”
And Berk added that his hometown has been severely affected by cancer.
“The amount of people from that area I’ve watched die of cancer over the years is staggering,” he said. “Far, far higher than the normal rate. #waterpollution #pollution #corporategreed #RetweeetPlease”
PEOPLE has contacted Phillips 66 and Conoco for comment.
Commenters called on Erin Brockovich, the environmental activist who famously started and won a class action lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric Company after residents near their pipeline developed cancer at an alarming rate, to help Berk.
The interior designer also asked the local news station in Springfield, Missouri to see if they could find old footage from when they interviewed Berk’s family “about our well water being contaminated by @Conoco @conocophillips.”
Conoco has settled several lawsuits from residents in areas where the company had oil, gas and disposal wells. In 1990, they payed $23 million to buy up homes from families in Ponca City, Oklahoma who said that they developed cancer and other health issues, becoming one of the largest settlements at the time. They have paid over $134.6 million in penalties for 41 different environmental violations, according to GoodJobsFirst.org.
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