Group calls for ‘real investigation’ of NH’s high cancer rates
By Jeff McMenemy | Sentinel Source | August 8, 2019
Read full article by Jeff McMenemy (Sentinel Source)
“PORTSMOUTH — New Hampshire Safe Water Alliance is asking people to sign a petition calling for a ‘real investigation’ into the state’s high rates of childhood and other cancers.
The petition, which can be viewed at www.safewaternh.org, calls on Gov. Chris Sununu and state Department of Health and Human Services officials to find out why ‘our kids are dying at the highest rate in the nation.’
The petition calls for DHHS to put cancer rate information on its website and issue a ‘clear and concise evaluation of the pediatric brain and central nervous system cancers in the Seacoast cancer cluster area and the Merrimack/Bedford/Litchfield/Amherst area,’ the petition states.
The petition also calls for DHHS to study the rates of cancers in the Merrimack/Bedford/Litchfield/Amherst area, including all ‘chronic diseases known or suspected to be associated with exposure to PFAS.’
Scientist and former state Rep. Mindi Messmer first reported what she believed were an unusually high number of pediatric cancer cases on the Seacoast. That report led to a confirmation by state health officials of a Seacoast pediatric cancer cluster in 2016. They identified a cluster of rhabdomyosarcoma, or RMS, which several area children died from. While looking at the RMS cases, the state also identified ‘a small excess of pediatric lung cancer cases,’ all of which ‘were of a single rare type called pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB)’…
Former Portsmouth police officer Steven Demo, who grew up near the Coakley landfill in Greenland, died in 2000 at age 42 from RMS.
People in the Seacoast and Merrimack area have had to deal with exposure to PFAS chemicals.
The state has not identified an environmental trigger for the cancer cases, but Messmer stated ‘it’s possible’ PFAS exposure could have played a role.
PFAS are man-made chemicals used in products worldwide since the 1950s, including firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and water-repellent fabrics. They also have a range of applications in the aerospace, aviation, automotive and electronics industries, among others.
Officials believe firefighting foam contaminated the Haven well at Pease International Tradeport.
The Agency for Toxic Substances And Disease Registry states PFAS exposure can increase cancer risks, lower birth weights, harm the liver, thyroid and pancreas and increase cholesterol levels.
New Hampshire also has the highest rates of breast, bladder and esophageal cancer in the nation.
‘Most people I talk to have no idea,’ Messmer said…
For the study, Sununu ‘would like to bring in renowned experts to get to the bottom of this public health crisis without any preconceived notions,’ Vihstadt said, adding the governor’s plan is to ‘contract the study out to a third-party with experience in public health studies.'”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.