childhood pediatric cancer cluster

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Pediatric cancer cluster investigation continues

Jul 07, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill that establishes a commission to continue the investigation into a childhood cancer cluster on the seacoast.

The commission will take over from a taskforce established by former Gov. Maggie Hassan, which is scheduled to issue a final report this summer.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), there were more cases of a specific pediatric brain cancer than would be expected on the seacoast between 2005 and 2015.

Is pollution to blame?

For some parents on the seacoast, this suggests environmental pollution is negatively affecting the health of children. They identify the Coakley landfill, in particular, as a location of concern.

“We have to act quickly to attempt to identify a cause. If we can avoid only one more case of a child getting cancer this commission would be a success.”

- Rep. Martin Bove

State finds no connections

According to DHHS, however, there is no known environmental cause for these cancers. Also, while the higher number of cancer diagnoses was statistically significant, it was still small: only seven children were diagnosed. They conducted a survey of the children diagnosed with cancer and found no clear patterns.

“The investigation did not identify a cause for the potential [pediatric] cancer cluster. … Inherited or genetic predispositions to development of these cancers are possible.”

- Department of Health and Human Services website 

The investigation into the pediatric cancer cluster overlaps with statewide concern over perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in New Hampshire’s water supply. Click here to read a news article about that issue. 

Do you think the pediatric cancer cluster on the seacoast merits more investigation? Let us know in the comments.


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