Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flower Mound Cancer Cluster Study Released

The Texas Department of Health Services has released the Flower Mound Cancer Study.
News Release March 24, 2010

Analysis of Cancer in Flower Mound Finds No Evidence of Cluster
A Texas Department of State Health Services analysis has found that the occurrence of leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and childhood brain cancers in two ZIP codes in Flower Mound, Texas, is within the expected ranges for males and females.

In response to community concerns about a possible cluster of cancer cases, DSHS analyzed the occurrence of childhood and overall leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, childhood brain cancer and female breast cancer in the 75022 and 75028 ZIP codes, using Texas Cancer Registry data from 1998 to 2007. The number of cancer cases occurring in these two ZIP codes was compared with the number of cases expected based on statewide rates.

“The incidence of all but breast cancer was within a statistically normal range in these two Flower Mound areas,” said Eric Miller, the DSHS epidemiologist who conducted the analysis. “We found nothing in the data to indicate the community is at higher risk for these types of cancers. However, we understand residents’ concerns and will continue to analyze new cancer data from these two areas.”

In ZIP code 75028 and both ZIP codes combined, the analysis did find a statistically higher than expected number of breast cancer cases, although there isn’t any established scientific link between breast cancer and benzene, the contaminant of chief concern to the Flower Mound community. The breast cancer result could be due to overall population increases in Flower Mound and the likelihood that women in this area are more frequently screened for breast cancer.

In response to requests for an assessment of more current data, DSHS also compared the average annual number of cases for the same four cancers in the same two ZIP codes from 2007 to 2009 with the average annual number of cases from 1998 to 2007.
The average annual number of childhood leukemia and brain cancer cases remained essentially unchanged from 2007 to 2009 compared with the previous 10 years. The average annual number of cases of overall leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and breast cancer was somewhat higher from 2007 to 2009.

However, DSHS cautions against drawing any conclusions regarding the 2007 to 2009 results, as the data for this time period are still being received and evaluated by the department. The number of individual cancer cases can fluctuate significantly from year to year, particularly with rarer cancers and in such small geographic areas. An annual increase or decrease doesn’t necessarily indicate a longer-term trend.

“Flower Mound’s significant population increase alone could account for a higher average number of cancer cases between 2007 and 2009,” Miller said. “We consider these figures a snapshot, not a complete picture, and that’s why we’ll continue to collect and analyze the data from this area.”

This study only collected data up to 2007.
The majority of the child and adult leukemia cases were diagnosed after 2007.

here to read study results.

After reading Texas Department of Health Services press release about the breast cancer, I started researching and found Camp Legeune in North Carolina has a long history of cancer. There have been 40 men diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. In addition to the breast cancer, other cancers have been diagnosed. Officials recently pinpointed the source as a Fuel Farm that leaked BENZENE and other chemicals into the water source. Click here for article.

For years the Marine Corps knew the fuel farm, built in 1941, was leaking 1,500 gallons a month and did nothing to stop it, according to a 1988 memo from a Camp Lejeune lawyer to the base's assistant facilities manager. "It's an indefensible waste of money and a continuing potential threat to human health and the environment," wrote Staff Judge Advocate A.P. Tokarz.

Minutes of a 1996 meeting with Moon Township, Pa.-based Baker Corp., the third contractor, indicate the fuel farm had lost 800,000 gallons of fuel, of which 500,000 gallons had been recovered. Benzene was "in the deeper portion of the aquifer" and the "fuel farm is definitely the source," the minutes quote a Michael Baker employee as saying.


Anonymous said...

I was reading about how this went to the governor's office and all the scrutiny. I bet elected officials were involved too.

I am not surprised they didn't find anything. They don't want people freaking out and getting sue happy.

Someone better keep on them to look at the 2008 and beyond. I believe they will find that what is happeining in Flower Mound is not normal!

Anonymous said...

You know, Blogger 1, if you and your chums stick with the usual tactic of claiming the data is flawed (or intentionally distorted by elected officials) when you don't like the results of a study, that will pretty much convince the pro-drilling crowd that if the Council ever imposed a 6-month moratorium on drilling it would, in fact, never end, regardless of what any future studies revealed about the relative safety of gas drilling. At least not until so ordered by a court, because, yes, drillers and mineral owners would, to use your words, "freak out and get sue happy".

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the study that actually includes the increased cases of leukemia--all recently diagnosed--will produce a different conclusion.

Anonymous said...

The fact that women in the 75028 and 75022 get screen for breast cancer more is the reason for higher diagnoses is ridiculous. It insults our intelligence. Eventually they would find a lump if they have cancer. What mammography does is reduce the mortality rate not the rate that you get cancer.
I also noticed that in the 10 years they did the study, 11 kids got leukemia. But they noted in 2008 and 2009 there were already 4 documented.
The 4 documented were from people reporting them. How many don't we know about? The data from the last two years will surely tell that story.

Anonymous said...

At the Town Meeting last night realtors spoke, as the Town had collected their open house signs this past week and then charged them $50.00 per sign to retrieve them. (One realtor told me they collected 80 of their signs, but there were other agencies there too). The town spend time collecting signs, which are not a health risk, but do not spend time protecting our town against gas emissions. I would rather town employees be checking on drilling sites for safety. It is evident the town council are concerned about the wrong things!

(Oh, they could use this extra money for the lawsuit Williams slapped on Flower Mound!)