News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Len Fishman
Commissioner
For Release:
January 18, 1999
For Further Information Contact:
Rita Manno
(609) 984-7160
Marilyn Riley
(609) 984-7160
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Department Seeks Public Comment on Health Study
of Residents near Three Superfund Sites

TRENTON -- The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has released for public comment a health study examining cancer incidence in residents living near three Superfund sites in Essex and Camden counties. Written comments will be accepted through February 19, 1999.

The report, Cancer Incidence in Populations Living Near Radiologically Contaminated Superfund Sites in New Jersey, outlines the findings of a health study around the following sites: the U.S. Radium site in Orange; the Montclair/West Orange Radium sites in Montclair, West Orange and Glen Ridge; and the Welsbach and General Gas Mantle sites in Camden City and Gloucester City. The study was conducted through a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The study examined cancer incidence in portions of the six towns nearest the contaminated sites. The purpose was to determine whether cancer rates during the 13-year period, 1979 to 1991, were elevated when compared with the state as a whole.

According to the findings, when all the study areas were combined, there were no elevated rates for either total cancer incidence or any of 11 types of cancer examined. For females in the study area, bladder cancer and leukemia rates were below state rates.

When the three study sites were examined individually, the study found little consistency in results among the sites. For example, residents near the U.S. Radium site had lower rates of overall cancer and certain types of cancer, including lung cancer, while residents in the Welsbach study areas had higher lung cancer rates than did the state as a whole. However, the study was not designed to determine whether other risk factors for lung cancer, such as smoking or certain occupational exposures, could have been related to the higher rate.

The study concluded that, overall, residents in the study areas do not have higher rates of cancer and that the few elevations in certain types of cancer were not likely related to contamination at the sites. No further follow-up of cancer incidence appears warranted at this time.

Copies of the report may be reviewed at the main public libraries in Camden, Gloucester City, Montclair, West Orange, Glen Ridge and Orange. Copies may be obtained by calling the Department of Health and Senior Services at (609) 633-2043. Please submit written comments by February 19 to:

Michael Berry
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
Consumer and Environmental Health Services
P.O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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