There are elevated levels of brain tumors and central nervous system cancer among children in The Acreage, says a new report released by the Palm Beach County Health Department, according to CBS Channel 12 News.
The findings were reviewed by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Health Central Office, and the DOH Palm Beach County Health Department.
“We suspected that pediatric brain and central nervous system cancers among children were higher than would normally be seen in an area like the Acreage.” said Senior Environmental Epidemiologist Sharon M. Watkins, in a press release.
The pediatric cases were followed for three years and reviewed by age, and sex. From 2005 to 2007 there were three cases among females, significantly higher than expected. Based on population, the anticipated case number would have been zero to one.
Community people have speculated that a nearby Pratt & Whitney jet engine plant and/or area citrus groves could have tainted the well water. Since the groves used potentially dangerous pesticides for many years, soil contamination was also a concern. Previously, well tests conducted by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) did not disclose any toxins, but four wells did find levels of alpha particles, radium-226 or radium-228, that exceed drinking water standards.
Radium-226 and radium-228 are naturally occurring radioactive metals that could cause cancer at increased levels. The four wells in which elevated levels of radium-225 or radium-228 were detected did not appear to be near places where residents had reported brain cancer in children. The DEP said the contamination might require homeowners with affected wells to install water treatment systems. The DEP considered area ground water safe at that time.
For more information visit DOH & DEP ANNOUNCE INITIAL FINDINGS IN CANCER REVIEW INVESTIGATION FOR THE ACREAGE COMMUNITY