RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake Forest mother is pushing the state to investigate after three teenagers from the same graduating class were diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer. A fourth teen who lived nearby received the same diagnosis in 2009.
The teens, all of whom lived within a 3- to 4-mile radius of each other, battled Ewing’s sarcoma – a cancer so rare that only about 250 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with it each year.
Robin Harris, whose son Alex Harris was diagnosed in March 2011, reported concerns about a possible cancer cluster to her son’s doctor at Duke University Hospital, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and a sarcoma organization.
“Statistically, it’s unbelievable … Someone needs to look at it and say, ‘Hey, we need to investigate this,’” Robin Harris said.
She and the other families say they were under the assumption that the cases would be investigated. Robin Harris says she was told the cases would be referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The WRAL Investigates team found that the state did not do a thorough investigation, the CDC was not informed of the cases and the families were kept in the dark due to an “unfortunate oversight,” according to a DHHS spokeswoman.
Ewing’s sarcoma is a childhood cancer found in the bone or soft tissue and usually strikes children, mostly white boys, between the ages of 10 and 20. Some symptoms include pain or swelling in the arm, leg, chest, back or pelvis and a fever or broken bone for no reason, according to WebMD.com. Researchers understand little about the cancer, but they don’t think it’s hereditary.
Carly O’Day, now a freshman at East Carolina University, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma two months before her high school classmate Alex. Another classmate, Zach Osborne, was the third to be diagnosed.
“I’m thinking there has to be something up,” Zach said.
Zach, Carly and Alex went to the same middle and high schools together. The trio shared a class in a trailer during their freshman year at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School in 2007-08, but that is the only place they can remember where all three were together over an extended period of time.
I wonder if constantly playing and running around and through that magnetic field is good for children;s developing brains?Some of that tennis court and track don’t appear to be much more that 20m away from the high voltage power lines.
And now for the votes…
To hear an explanation by the discoverers of string theory (cute females) click here
A longtime skeptic of the Air Force’s PAVE PAWS early warning station in Sagamore has set his sights on the state health department.
Dr. Richard Albanese, a physician who works for the Air Force, claims a recent state Department of Public Health (DPH) study that ruled out the radar station as a primary cause of a rare cancer cluster among children on Cape Cod was flawed.
State health department officials and others say the study was scientifically legitimate.
The 11-month, $40,000 study compared the strength of the radar’s beam that is hitting the homes of the sick children with sites that were not associated with someone who had been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma.
Albanese claims the study had a pre-determined outcome because of the way the research was designed.
Albanese, who worked on the original military panel that cleared PAVE PAWS for operation in 1979 but has since grown wary of the radar station, takes issue with several aspects of the study. His biggest concern is that the comparison sites state investigators used in the study were at similar elevation and distance from the radar station as the homes of the sick children.
Because like was compared to like, the measurements were predictably similar, Albanese said.
For the study to have been done properly, random comparison sites — at different elevations and distances from the radar station — should have been conducted, Albanese said during a phone interview from his Texas home. Albanese emphasized he was commenting on the DPH study as a private citizen.
“It’s a profound error,” he said. “The study has limited to no utility.”
The DPH study, released in December, concluded it was unlikely that PAVE PAWS was the main cause of 14 local cases of Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, since 1982.
The study focused on eight individuals — seven children and one adult — diagnosed between 1995 and 2004. The expected number of cases on Cape Cod during that time is two.
According to the American Cancer Society, the expected incidence rate of the disease is 2.9 cases in 1 million people. There are slightly fewer than 50,000 children under 21 in Barnstable County, according to the 2004 Census.
Broadcast Signal Lab of Cambridge was hired last year to take the radar-beam power measurements for the DPH study. Broadcast Signal Lab technicians took measurements at the homes of the 14 people diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma since 1982. They also took measurements at 17 comparison sites at similar elevation and distance from PAVE PAWS as the homes.
Albanese likened the DPH study to comparing a small group of people who smoke and have cancer with a slightly larger group who smoke and do not have cancer, and concluding that smoking does not cause cancer.
The DPH study also was far too small and shallow to reach the conclusions it did, he said.
Also, Unless they are continuously monitoring the radiation power density during strong overhead storms THEY WILL NEVER KNOW THE MAXIMUM INTENSITY AS IT CHANGES WITH THE WEATHER/REFLECTION FROM THE ATMOSPHERE
State study defended
Suzanne Condon, DPH assistant commissioner, said Albanese confused the type of study her department conducted.
Condon said the comparison measurements Albanese is looking for were done by Broadcast Signal Lab in 2005 for an Air Force-sponsored study looking at whether PAVE PAWS was contributing to health problems on the Upper Cape.
The 2005 study, which did not look at Ewing’s sarcoma cases, and was reviewed by the National Academies of Science, concluded the radar station did not pose a threat to public health on Cape Cod.
The more recent DPH study was an “exposure study,” Condon said.
“We did a very focused study looking at PAVE PAWS emission levels in close proximity to homes of children diagnosed with (Ewing’s sarcoma). When you’re looking at an exposure, you try to match as closely as you can on all the variables,” she said.
The study was intended to help state health officials determine whether to launch a more intensive phase of investigation, Condon said.
In addition to the radar power measurements, DPH asked two pediatric oncologists to examine the results, and they agreed that more investigation of PAVE PAWS was not necessary, she said.
The way DPH approached the study makes sense to Dr. Thomas Burke, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
What DPH did with the study “has to be interpreted in light of the monitoring that was done before. That said, there does not appear to be high levels of exposure throughout the Cape,” he said.
It made sense to look at data collected at the homes of the children diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, and other areas of similar elevation and distance to see whether there was something unique about those exposures, in comparison to what was found across Cape Cod in 2005, said Burke, who is former deputy director of New Jersey’s health department.
“They had specific questions about peak exposure, and they did a good job of following up on that,” he said.
Scientific certainty elusive
Ann Aschengrau, professor of epidemiology at Boston University, agreed with Albanese that the DPH study was not rigorous enough to rule out PAVE PAWS as a factor in the Ewing’s cluster on Cape Cod.
“Matching on elevation and distance was essentially matching on exposure level, and so was a fatal flaw,” she wrote in an e-mail. “We often do match in epidemiological studies, but it’s usually done for variables like sex, race, etc.,” not possible disease exposures, she said.
For the study to be done properly, Albanese said peak power measurements of at least 1,000 random comparison sites would need to be done — preferably in off-Cape locations. The measurements would need to be repeated over time to see whether there was any seasonal[& WEATHER] variations in the measurements, he said.
Burke expressed confidence that the Massachusetts health department can get to the bottom of the Ewing’s sarcoma mystery. The department is viewed nationally as “having a pretty solid, good approach to investigating these kinds of things.”
Victor Vyssotsky of Orleans, a retired Bell Laboratory development director, said launching a full investigation into the cause of the Ewing’s sarcoma cluster would “use up resources and time” the state health department does not have.
Vyssotsky helped design an Alaskan radar station similar to PAVE PAWS and served on the first National Research Council panel that reviewed and cleared PAVE PAWS for public use in the early 1980s. He claimed the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Mayo Clinic in Baltimore, Md., are the two best places to research the cause of the elevated Ewing’s sarcoma cases on Cape Cod.
While Vyssotsky said he is not an epidemiological expert, he has worked extensively in the field of military radar. He called Albanese, whom he knows personally, “a very dedicated, very sincere physician whose concerns about the effects of high-powered radiation in general are well-warranted.” He also asserted that “some of the inferences (Albanese) draws are a bit far-fetched.”
Albanese praised DPH investigators, but he said adequately researching whether PAVE PAWS is affecting residents’ health was beyond the realm of their expertise.
“I think they try to do a good job, but they have no experience with radiation and disease,” he said.
The Air Force doctor claimed the DPH study — as well as many of the past studies that have been conducted by the Air Force — did little to ease his concerns about PAVE PAWS. There has never been a human, laboratory animal or plant experiment to assess the biological impact of phased array radiation, he said.
To continue to expose the public to a type of radiation that has never been tested in the laboratory is like giving citizens a drug that was never tested for its safety, he said.
“I have no data to say that absolutely it is PAVE PAWS (that caused the Cape Ewing’s sarcoma cases)” he said. “But I am certain it cannot be ruled out.”
In the end, as much as the government wants to play stupid, the fact we have a tremendous amount of diseased wildlife around ALL of our high powered, pulsed radar stations at Cape Canaveral, White Sands, Guam and Pacific Sands (Kauai) will seal their fate. Best they stop playing stupid and catch on REAL FAST
Sierra Vista, Cochise County, Arizona
Sierra Vista currently has three times the incidence of childhood leukemia expected in a town its size. Out of a total populatiohttp://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/PHA/litchfield/laan of about 40,000, 12 children have been diagnosed; two have died. After vigorous lobbying by Cochise County and Representative Jim Kolbe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in 2004 that it would collect biological samples in Sierra Vista. The testing has yet to begin, and analysis of the samples will take up to two years. Residents are concerned about this rate of cancer, and wonder whether it might be linked to the fact that the town is home to two military bases. A jet fuel pipeline runs under the town as well. Biomonitoring would help find a common agent, if any, that may be contributing to the cancer among these residents.
Eighteen children associated with Sierra Vista were diagnosed with leukemia between 1995 and 2007, and four have died. This is over three times the expected rate for this small desert town near a military base.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) led the cluster investigation, in cooperation with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ATSDR, and the Cochise County Health Department.
Dr. Tim Flood of ADHS defined a “case” as a child between the ages of 0 and 14 diagnosed with leukemia while residing in Sierra Vista. The official number of cases for the Sierra Vista cluster was 13, plus 5 cases in children linked to Sierra Vista. Two of the linked cases are families who lived in Sierra Vista for years, but moved and were diagnosed in another community a few weeks later. The third linked child lives in another city but visits Sierra Vista on weekends and holidays to see her father. Dr. Flood chose not to include teenagers because he thinks we are less likely to learn causation because there is a longer latency period, and more “confounding” factors like carcinogenic exposures from working on a car, or from smoking. Case definitions are not standardized in the United States; in the Fallon childhood leukemia cluster, the Nevada public health officials defined a case as a child from 0-19 who resided in Fallon prior to diagnosis. This lack of standardization led to the unfortunate predicament for Annastacia Warneke’s family, who moved from Sierra Vista to Fallon, and were not covered by either case definition.
In February 2001, The Pensacola News Journal reported that rates for several kinds of cancer, rates for birth defects, and rates for low birth weight babies were all elevated in Escabmia and Santa Rosa counties as compared with national rates. The article reported that federal regulators suspect arsenic, dioxin, lead, mercury and other substances from contaminated Superfund sites and manufacturing plants, Escambia Treating and Agrico, are to blame. Without adequate tracking of these substances and human health, it is difficult to determine whether the environment is linked to these elevated cancer rates.
Sixteen children have been diagnosed in Fallon with leukemia since 1997. Three have died; two relapsed in the summer of 2004. An investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in 2003 that there are no links between environmental contaminants and the leukemia cases in Fallon. However, biomonitoring tests conducted by CDC found residents in Fallon had elevated levels of arsenic and tungsten in their urine. Arsenic is a known carcinogen, but has not been linked to leukemia. Little is know about the health effects of tungsten–it is currently being studied by the National Toxicology Program. A tracking network that collects data on environmental exposures and health effects could have helped discover the cluster earlier and aided health officials in their investigation.
I think that 6,400,000 Watt ARSR-4 is a VERY BAD ACTOR
In this review we discuss alarming epidemiological and experimental data on possible carcinogenic effects of long term exposure to low intensity microwave (MW) radiation. Recently, a number of reports revealed that under certain conditions the irradiation by low intensity MW can substantially induce cancer progression in humans and in animal models. The carcinogenic effect of MW irradiation is typically manifested after long term (up to 10 years and more) exposure. Nevertheless, even a year of operation of a powerful base transmitting station for mobile communication reportedly resulted in a dramatic increase of cancer incidence among population living nearby. In addition, model studies in rodents unveiled a significant increase in carcinogenesis after 17-24 months of MW exposure both in tumor-prone and intact animals. To that, such metabolic changes, as overproduction of reactive oxygen species, 8-hydroxi-2-deoxyguanosine formation, or ornithine decarboxylase activation under exposure to low intensity MW confirm a stress impact of this factor on living cells. We also address the issue of standards for assessment of biological effects of irradiation. It is now becoming increasingly evident that assessment of biological effects of non-ionizing radiation based on physical (thermal) approach used in recommendations of current regulatory bodies, including the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines, requires urgent reevaluation. We conclude that recent data strongly point to the need for re-elaboration of the current safety limits for non-ionizing radiation using recently obtained knowledge. We also emphasize that the everyday exposure of both occupational and general public to MW radiation should be regulated based on a precautionary principles which imply maximum restriction of excessive exposure.