Mass DPH Will Be Conducting Cancer Evaluation of PCB Exposure
The state Department of Public Health will be reviewing for selected types of cancer-related to the problematic Hill 78 and Building 71.
Hill 78 On-Plant Consolidation Area (OPCA)This area encompasses approximately 6 acres and is located within the boundaries of the Hill 78-Remainder RAA. Building 71 On-Plant Consolidation Area (OPCA) - This approximately 4.4-acre area is also located within the boundaries of the Hill 78- Remainder RAA. It is located immediately to the east of the Hill 78 OPCA.
Iberkshires.com reports, Representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency say the capped-off General Electric landfills are not harmful, yet the last public health study that was conducted on them was in the 2000s.
In January, the City Council's Public Health and Safety subcommittee requested that MassDPH provide an updated study on cancer cases in that area.
The subcommittee on Thursday received news on the upcoming cancer evaluation from Julie Cosio, Jessica Burkhamer, and Brenda Netreba from the Bureau of Environmental Health at the Mass DPH.
They are planning on looking at four of the six cancer types evaluated previously in a 2002 report: breast cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Reportedly, epidemiological literature shows some evidence of association of these cancers with exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.
GE for many years used PCBs in its transformer manufacturing. The chemicals have been banned since 1979 but GE discharged them into the river and environment during its use of them.
While there is no evidence of an association between PCB exposure and bladder cancer, they are planning on evaluating bladder cancer in Pittsfield because there were increased rates in the previous evaluation.
Two previously evaluated cancer types that will not be included in the study are thyroid cancer and Hodgkin's disease because both are reportedly not associated with PCB exposure.
The last evaluation was back in 2002, the scientific literature had identified some additional cancer types that may be associated. There may be other types of cancer after further review
The areas that will be included in the evaluation include Pittsfield as a whole and each of its 11 census tracts, as well as the communities of Great Barrington, Lenox, Lee, and Stockbridge to be consistent with the 2002 report.
One thing I am scratching my head over is that the last report was in 2002, the Data will be evaluated in five-year increments from 1996 through 2015?
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