Acreage Cancer Cluster Report Due ThursdayAug 25, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP Residents of The Acreage are anxiously awaiting the result of a study to determine whether or not the Florida community constitutes a "cancer cluster". According to The Palm Beach Post, findings from the first phase of that study are slated to be released later this week.
As we've reported previously, residents of The Acreage have been concerned about a cancer cluster since several children living in close proximity to each other were diagnosed with brain tumors. One resident told the Post that she knew of 70 reports of such tumors or suspected tumors diagnosed in Acreage residents in the past 15 years, 14 of which were in children. However, the Post said that number has not been confirmed.
According to The Palm Beach Post, some residents are worried that a nearby Pratt & Whitney jet engine plant and/or citrus groves in the area, which used potentially dangerous pesticides for decades may have tainted well water. There were also concerns about soil contamination.
Because of residents’ concerns, the Florida Department of Health has been gathering basic information on people in the area who have had brain cancer. An investigation will be launched if cancer rates in The Acreage turn out to be higher than what is normal. Results of the first phase of that investigation will be released at a news conference this Thursday. According to the Post, the conference will be open to the public.
Depending on the findings, the investigation of the potential cancer cluster could take several routes. If nothing unusual is found, the probe would end. If the study finds either "elevated levels" of cancer in the community, or determines that a cluster exists, the inquiry will continue and will eventually target possible environmental causes, the Post said.
Many residents told the Post that they would be skeptical of any findings that indicated there was no problem. Some also expressed concerns that data would be manipulated in order to present a favorable finding.
In addition to Thursday's news conference, the Palm Beach County health director will hold a meeting with residents in about two weeks to go over the report, the Post said.