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Increased leukemia, lymphoma, and spontaneous abortion in Western New York following a flood disaster.
  • Published Date:
    1981 Jul-Aug
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 96(4):350-356
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.18 MB]


Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    7255659
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMCnull
  • Description:
    The New York State Department of Health was asked in September 1978 of investigate a cluster of leukemias and lymphomas in a rural town in western New York State of less than 1,000 people. Four cases of these diseases had been diagnosed in the town's population in the previous 10 months. Residents were concerned about environmental hazards such as background radiation and contamination of their water supply. A total environmental study of the area was not feasible or warranted, but certain environmental studies of the area were conducted. No environmental health hazards were identified. Incidence rates for towns in the four-county area (population 281,000) surrounding the study town were analyzed, based on data from the New York State Cancer Registry. These four counties had been severely affected by the flood following the 1972 Hurricane Agnes. Examination of annual leukemia and lymphoma incidence rates for these counties for 1966--77 revealed that the rates for towns in the river valley (population 102,000), but not for nonriver-valley towns, were 20 to 50 percent above the statewide rates for 1972--77. All other cancer rates remained level throughout both periods. An analysis of spontaneous abortion rates for the four counties for 1968--77 showed a significant peak in 1973, but not for the rest of upstate New York. The peak was concentrated in the towns in the river valley. The apparent time-space cluster of leukemias and lymphomas in conjunction with a marked increase in the spontaneous abortion rate suggests an unidentified flood-related environmental exposure.

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