Superfund Sites and Cancer: Association or Causation
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Approximately 11 million Americans live within one mile of a Superfund site that may be contaminated with hazardous chemicals that include: aroclor, lead and benzene. These chemicals along with a host of others can cause cancer, which is rapid, out of control cell growth. GIS and statistical analysis were used to assess the spread of these chemicals, and their relation to cancer. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided superfund site data was used to map the location of superfund sites. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) county-wide, site-specific cancer incidence rates for the years of 1998-2002 were used to analyze any cancer trends. Within EPA Region 5 (Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio), three sites were selected that had similar topography, site age, and location to waterway. Five invasive cancer types were focused on, they include: lung/bronchus, breast, colorectal, prostate and leukemia/lymphoma. There were no consistent trends associated with chemicals and cancer. More definitive studies are needed to properly assess the spread of these chemicals and their effects on individual communities.