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Environmental concerns shared at Warren County community cancer study meeting

July 19, 2018 11:15 PM

In a five year study, more people are diagnosed with cancer in Warren County than any other place in the state of New York.

Department of Health officials want to know why.

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They've launched a community study to find out. Warren is one of two counties is being examined over the next few months.

The purpose of this study is to look at why certain cancers occur more often in some areas than they do in others.

In Warren County specifically DOH officials are looking into lung, laryngeal, esophageal, oral and brain cancers.

Some people at the meeting on Thursday said they believe industrial effects have had great influence on those statistics.

"Looking back several of my acquaintances have died early deaths as a result of cancer and I've always been concerned about whether there were contributing factors in the area,” former Warren County resident Mark Cassidy said.

Cassidy currently lives in Saratoga, but he lived in Warren County for years. He's back to attend a meeting about the DOH launching a community cancer study. 

The DOH is looking for patterns related to demographic, behavioral, occupational and environmental factors.

Cassidy thinks environmental factors could have played a big role.

"At one time number of them could have contributed to this,” Cassidy said, “Finch company, Imperial which became Hercules Powders, Sandy Hill Iron and Brass, GE we just don't know what happened here."

Cassidy isn't alone. In fact, Erika Marczak traveled from Connecticut to attend the meeting. She wants the DOH to make public health and transparency top priorities.

"Things happened, the State knew about it,” Marczak said. “If you look in the records and if you look in the records there are weekly, monthly reports and entire research projects that are just missing from the archives."

DOH officials said community members will have several more chances to express their concerns.

"This is not the only time we are going to be engaging with the community,” Deputy Director of Public Health Adrienne Mazeau said. "Our goal is that over the next few months as we continue our study to continue engaging with the stakeholders in this community as well as community groups."

DOH officials said the study will be completed by the end of the year. The Department is also looking into cancer rates in Richmond County (Staten Island), as well as few select towns in Suffolk (Centerreach, Farmingville and Selden), and Erie (East Buffalo/Western Cheektowaga) Counties.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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