EPA to look into cluster of rare cancer cases in West Salem

EPA to look into cluster of rare cancer cases in West Salem »Play Video
A family photograph of Lisa Harder and her favorite horse, Rio. Lisa battled a rare cancer for 46 months before dying. She lived in West Salem.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The Environmental Protection Agency says it will look for a possible connection among several cancer cases in West Salem, Ore.  

Spokesman Mark MacIntyre told the Statesman Journal on Tuesday that the federal agency has decided to proceed with a site assessment after receiving correspondence from people in the area.  

Several cases of osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, have been seen in young people in recent years.  

Area residents are concerned that an environmental factor might be at work. At least two petitions have asked the EPA to test water and soil. An online petition has more than 2,600 signatures.  

Oregon's state epidemiologist, Dr. Katrina Hedberg, said there have been three or four such cancer cases in recent years.

She says that's not statistically unusual, given the way the cases are divided between two counties and among separate census tracts.  

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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