Mass DPH to conduct cancer assessment of PCB exposure


The state Department of Public Health will be looking at certain types of cancer related to the Hill 78 and Building 71 issue.
Hill 78 On-Plant Consolidation Area (OPCA) This area covers approximately 6 acres and is located within the boundaries of the Hill 78-Remainder RAA. Building 71 On-Site Consolidation Zone (OPCA) – This approximately 4.4 acre area is also located within the boundaries of RAA Hill 78-Remainder. It is located immediately east of the 78 OPCA hill. Reports, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials say General Electric’s capped landfills are not harmful, but the last public health study that was conducted on them dates back to the 2000s.

In January, the city council’s public health and safety subcommittee asked MassDPH to provide an updated study on cancer cases in this region.

The subcommittee received news on the upcoming cancer assessment on Thursday from Julie Cosio, Jessica Burkhamer and Brenda Netreba of the Mass DPH Environmental Health Office.

They plan to examine four of the six types of cancer previously assessed in a 2002 report: breast cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It seems that the epidemiological literature shows some evidence of an association of these cancers with exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

GE has used PCBs in the manufacture of its transformers for many years. Chemicals have been banned since 1979, but GE released them into the river and the environment during its use.

Although there is no evidence of an association between PCB exposure and bladder cancer, they plan to assess bladder cancer in Pittsfield as rates increased in the previous assessment. .

Two types of cancer previously assessed that will not be included in the study are thyroid cancer and Hodgkin’s disease, as both are not believed to be associated with exposure to PCBs.

The last evaluation dated back to 2002, the scientific literature had identified other types of cancer that may be associated. There may be other types of cancer after a closer examination

Areas that will be included in the assessment 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’m scratching my head is that the last report is from 2002, the data will be evaluated in five year increments from 1996 to 2015?

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