Below is a press release from the Wilmington Board of Health:
WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Board of Health is currently reviewing the long awaited Wilmington Childhood Cancer Study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Environmental Health (DPH) just released this week. The state investigation was launched in 1999 after concerned Wilmington residents and the Board of Health contacted DPH about a suspected cluster of childhood cancer beginning in 1990 in the south and west sections of town.
Results of the study suggest an association between maternal (i.e. prenatal) exposure to carcinogenic compounds previously contaminating the public water supply and development of childhood cancer, particularly leukemia or lymphoma, between 1990 and 2000. Childhood cancer incidence returned to expected rates beginning in 2001.
The DPH study does point out that Wilmington’s public drinking water is no longer contaminated and currently poses no known risk to public health. The public water supply wells in the contaminated aquifer were closed in 2003. The annual Drinking Water Quality Reports providing details about testing and safety of the public water supply in Wilmington are available here: https://www.wilmingtonma.gov/…/drinking-water-quality…
The Wilmington Board of Health Chair, Elizabeth Sabounjian, said today: “The Town of Wilmington and the families affected have been very frustrated waiting so long for this study to be completed. While the Board of Health has not yet completed reviewing the study report, I attended a DPH briefing on the study and can say that the study methods and findings are stunning and very important.”
The study focused on exposure from 1990 to 2000 to n-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a contaminant found in the Wilmington public water supply that originated from the Olin Chemical Corporation (Olin) property located at 51 Eames Street. This property is now managed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Superfund Site. A secondary analysis involved exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), also present in the water supply during part of the study period, though from unknown sources.
DPH has committed to continue to monitor childhood cancer rates in Wilmington and the Board of Health will continue to communicate with DPH regarding this monitoring.
The U.S. EPA recently released a $48 million proposed plan to begin clean-up of the Olin site. The Board of Health continues to be an active participant in the Olin EPA clean-up review and planning process on behalf of the Town. The EPA Olin plan and records are available here: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/SiteProfiles/index.cfm…
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