The president of the Galaxy Chemical Co., who has accused a Cecil County doctor of falsely linking Galaxy to cancer deaths in the area surrounding its plant, testified today that his wife, himself and five of their sons had worked in the plant over the years and had suffered almost no ill effects.
Paul Mraz did say that he had experienced dizziness on two occasions while working at the plant or the adjacent laboratory, but "apart from that we never suffered any health damage that I'm aware of" in the 15 years of the plant's operations.
Mraz and the Galaxy Co., the plaintiffs in the defamation suite, are asking for a total of $2.1 million damages from Dr. Pietro U. Capurro a pathologist who lived near the plant and was a persistent critic of its operations.
In several articles and numerous interviews in the late 1960s and early 1970s, CaPurro insisted that [WORD ILLEGIBLE] coming from the plant - which recycled the chemical wastes of larger firms - were hazardous to the Little Elk Valley, where the firm was located.
Capurro has denied ever making any direct link between Galaxy and the abnormally high cancer death rate he discovered in the Little Elk Valley in the northeastern corner of Maryland.
One of Mraz's contentions is that Galaxy firm was forced to close in 1976 because of declining business. The decline in business,he asserted repeatedly today, was caused by the publicity generated by Dr. Capurro's studies, particularly the study published in 1974 which showed that the cancer rate in the Little Elk Valley was seven times higher than could be expected.
"It is Dr. Capurro" who caused the company's failure, Mraz repeated, despite efforts made by Capurro's attorney to take shake that testimony under cross-examination.
Attorney Richard Magid did, however, bring out the fact that before Galazy Chemicals actually closed in February, 1976, a company called Solvent Distillers Inc. had already been formed and was soon wholly owned by Mraz and his wife.
Under cross-examination by Magid, Mraz conceded that within two weeks of the closing of Galaxy Chimeicals, Solvent Distillers Inc. had leased the property. buildings and equipment used by Galaxy and had started chemical reprocessing operations on a small scale.