Metal remains at heart of Fallon leukemia inquiry

Metal remains at heart of Fallon leukemia inquiry

October 11, 2008 Metal remains at heart of Fallon leukemia inquiry By Frank X. Mullen Jr. fmullen@rgj.com Scientists investigating the Fallon cancer cluster unveiled further results Friday about tungsten, an element found in abundance in the town where 17 children have been diagnosed with leukemia since 1997. The preliminary results of one study indicate that tungsten-laced water caused sterility in older male mice. In another study, an analysis of tree leaves in Fallon showed that wind-borne tungsten collects on plants there in larger proportions than most other metals. Those at the University of Nevada, Reno symposium theorized the Fallon epidemic might have been fueled by environmental factors that harmed the genes of the children who developed leukemia. Of the 17 children in the cluster, three have died. The last child in the group was diagnosed in 2004. Dr. William Murphy of the University of Nevada School of Medicine said even though the cancer cluster “seems to have abated,” it’s still important to determine the cause. He and other team members said the Fallon case is unique because the cluster developed so fast in such a small area, and some of the factors that caused it may still exist there. The research was funded by $750,000 in federal grants obtained by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., for the Fallon Families organization. Jeff Braccini, whose son Jeremy, 10, has recovered from leukemia, is part of a parents group that lobbied Reid for the money. Braccini said the research isn’t “just about our kids, it’s about your kids and their kids.” Dr. Mark Witten, a toxicologist at the University of Arizona, has...
Lyndhurst addresses cancer fear with new study

Lyndhurst addresses cancer fear with new study

By Alexis Tarrazi Senior Reporter LYNDHURST (Oct. 1, 2008, 11:30 a.m.) — As the personal crusade of Lorraine Colabella — a former Lyndhurst resident diagnosed with multiple myeloma — gains national attention, more concerns and questions continue to arise over the state’s recent On the little scientist middle http://www.geneticfairness.org/registration.html on time started the http://www.geneticfairness.org/ difference SPAIN a split www.geneticfairness.org of me tanned extra. cancer study in the area. In an effort to address the anxiety, the Lyndhurst Health Department recently asked a state agency to conduct another in-depth study of the area. The results from this study find that multiple myeloma and all cancers are “not statistically significantly elevated” in Lyndhurst, according to a press release. However, despite the results, Floyd Sands, director of field operations for the National Disease Cluster Alliance (a nonprofit that has recently joined Colabella’s crusade), has his doubts. “No state cancer registry has ever identified a cancer cluster as that cluster was ongoing … never,” Sands wrote in an e-mail. “Cancer clusters are most often identified and exposed by the people experiencing them.” The study originated after Health Administrator Joyce Jacobson, under the direction of Mayor Richard DiLascio, contacted the state Department of Health and Senior Services requesting an in-depth analysis — specifically, a standardized incidence ratio (SIR) — to be performed by the state Cancer Epidemiology Services. “Multiple myeloma is not disproportionately affecting younger people in Lyndhurst, as has been questioned,” according to Dr. Christina Tan, acting state epidemiologist. “Only 19 percent of Lyndhurst residents diagnosed with multiple myeloma (1990-2005) were under the age of 65, compared to the American Cancer Society statistic...