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Cancer incidence among former Love Canal residents.

Gensburg LJ, Pantea C, Kielb C, Fitzgerald E, Stark A, Kim N - Environ. Health Perspect. (2009)

Bottom Line: SIRs were elevated for cancers of the bladder [SIR(NYS) = 1.44; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.91-2.16] and kidney (SIR(NYS) = 1.48; 95% CI, 0.76-2.58).We also found higher rates of bladder cancer among residents exposed as children, based on two cases.Given the relatively young age of the cohort, further surveillance is warranted.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York, USA.

ABSTRACT

Background: The Love Canal was a rectangular 16-acre, 10-ft-deep chemical waste landfill situated in a residential neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York. This seriously contaminated site came to public attention in 1978. Only one prior study examined cancer incidence in former residents of the Love Canal neighborhood (LC).

Objective: In this study we aimed to describe cancer incidence in former LC residents from 1979 to 1996 and to investigate whether it differs from that of New York State (NYS) and Niagara County (NC).

Methods: From 1978 to 1982, we interviewed 6,181 former residents, and 5,052 were eligible to be included in this study. In 1996, we identified 304 cancer diagnoses in this cohort using the NYS Cancer Registry. We compared LC cancer incidence with that of NYS and NC using standardized incidence ratios (SIRs), and we compared risks within the LC group by potential exposure to the landfill using survival analysis.

Results: SIRs were elevated for cancers of the bladder [SIR(NYS) = 1.44; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.91-2.16] and kidney (SIR(NYS) = 1.48; 95% CI, 0.76-2.58). Although CIs included 1.00, other studies have linked these cancers to chemicals similar to those found at Love Canal. We also found higher rates of bladder cancer among residents exposed as children, based on two cases.

Conclusions: In explaining these excess risks, the role of exposure to the landfill is unclear given such limitations as a relatively small and incomplete study cohort, imprecise exposure measurements, and the exclusion of cancers diagnosed before 1979. Given the relatively young age of the cohort, further surveillance is warranted.

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Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area (EDA). Reproduced from Gensburg et al. (2009) with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives.
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f1-ehp-117-1265: Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area (EDA). Reproduced from Gensburg et al. (2009) with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives.

Mentions: Before 1976, chemical odors, minor explosions, and fires were reported (Kim et al. 1982; NYSDOH 1981). In 1976–1977, heavy precipitation (National Climate Data Center 2008) led to a rise in the water table and preceded the surfacing of some of the buried waste. Subsequent environmental sampling in homes adjacent to the waste site detected numerous volatile organic chemicals in basement air, suggesting a possible serious health threat via inhalation (Kim et al. 1982; NYSDOH 1981). In August 1978, the NYSDOH commissioner declared a health emergency at the Love Canal neighborhood (LC), and people nearest to the landfill were relocated (NYSDOH 1981). Shortly thereafter, President Carter declared a federal state of emergency, enabling the use of federal funds to aid in site remediation. In July 1980, Congress authorized funding for an additional emergency relocation of residents over a more extensive area (Fowlkes and Miller 1982; NYSDOH 1981). The area defined by these two evacuations (Figure 1) became known as the Emergency Declaration Area (EDA) [NYSDOH and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 1986]. This man-made disaster encouraged the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (1980) by the U.S. Congress, the legislation that authorized federal funding for Superfund remedial activities at hazardous waste sites nationwide.


Cancer incidence among former Love Canal residents.

Gensburg LJ, Pantea C, Kielb C, Fitzgerald E, Stark A, Kim N - Environ. Health Perspect. (2009)

Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area (EDA). Reproduced from Gensburg et al. (2009) with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives.
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2721871&req=5

f1-ehp-117-1265: Love Canal Emergency Declaration Area (EDA). Reproduced from Gensburg et al. (2009) with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives.
Mentions: Before 1976, chemical odors, minor explosions, and fires were reported (Kim et al. 1982; NYSDOH 1981). In 1976–1977, heavy precipitation (National Climate Data Center 2008) led to a rise in the water table and preceded the surfacing of some of the buried waste. Subsequent environmental sampling in homes adjacent to the waste site detected numerous volatile organic chemicals in basement air, suggesting a possible serious health threat via inhalation (Kim et al. 1982; NYSDOH 1981). In August 1978, the NYSDOH commissioner declared a health emergency at the Love Canal neighborhood (LC), and people nearest to the landfill were relocated (NYSDOH 1981). Shortly thereafter, President Carter declared a federal state of emergency, enabling the use of federal funds to aid in site remediation. In July 1980, Congress authorized funding for an additional emergency relocation of residents over a more extensive area (Fowlkes and Miller 1982; NYSDOH 1981). The area defined by these two evacuations (Figure 1) became known as the Emergency Declaration Area (EDA) [NYSDOH and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 1986]. This man-made disaster encouraged the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (1980) by the U.S. Congress, the legislation that authorized federal funding for Superfund remedial activities at hazardous waste sites nationwide.

Bottom Line: SIRs were elevated for cancers of the bladder [SIR(NYS) = 1.44; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.91-2.16] and kidney (SIR(NYS) = 1.48; 95% CI, 0.76-2.58).We also found higher rates of bladder cancer among residents exposed as children, based on two cases.Given the relatively young age of the cohort, further surveillance is warranted.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, New York, USA.

ABSTRACT

Background: The Love Canal was a rectangular 16-acre, 10-ft-deep chemical waste landfill situated in a residential neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York. This seriously contaminated site came to public attention in 1978. Only one prior study examined cancer incidence in former residents of the Love Canal neighborhood (LC).

Objective: In this study we aimed to describe cancer incidence in former LC residents from 1979 to 1996 and to investigate whether it differs from that of New York State (NYS) and Niagara County (NC).

Methods: From 1978 to 1982, we interviewed 6,181 former residents, and 5,052 were eligible to be included in this study. In 1996, we identified 304 cancer diagnoses in this cohort using the NYS Cancer Registry. We compared LC cancer incidence with that of NYS and NC using standardized incidence ratios (SIRs), and we compared risks within the LC group by potential exposure to the landfill using survival analysis.

Results: SIRs were elevated for cancers of the bladder [SIR(NYS) = 1.44; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.91-2.16] and kidney (SIR(NYS) = 1.48; 95% CI, 0.76-2.58). Although CIs included 1.00, other studies have linked these cancers to chemicals similar to those found at Love Canal. We also found higher rates of bladder cancer among residents exposed as children, based on two cases.

Conclusions: In explaining these excess risks, the role of exposure to the landfill is unclear given such limitations as a relatively small and incomplete study cohort, imprecise exposure measurements, and the exclusion of cancers diagnosed before 1979. Given the relatively young age of the cohort, further surveillance is warranted.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus