Toxic Tide: No Place to Hide

Part 4: What we looked for and didn't find


Persons living along the seventy-eight miles of the St. Lawrence River that the US shares with Canada have become increasingly aware of a high incidence of cancer. Many people feel there is a link between the cancer they see around them and environmental pollution. We did not find a scientific study completed in the two county area that either establishes or refutes this suspected link, although several epidemiological studies are currently underway. Very often communities are told by government and industry that there is "no scientific evidence to prove" a local connection between environmental toxins and cancer. We discovered that this is largely due to a lack of effort by the government to systematically search for such scientific evidence. We did not find a scientific study completed in the two county area that either establishes or refutes this suspected link. Several epidemiological studies are currently underway.

Our first goal was to map cancer incidence and toxic "hot spots" in the two counties. We did not manage to do this for several reasons:

After mapping cancer incidence and toxic hot spots, we had planned to use the general information we gathered on cancer and pollution to link certain pollutants in our environment to incidences of specific cancers. This would have provided a basis for deciding whether an epidemiological study of a given community was warranted. As we did not reach our first goal, we were unable to proceed to the second.


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