By Ian Shalapata
(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor-Essex Health Unit has released its report on the Remington Park lung cancer cluster ahead of Thursday’s town hall meeting at the Optimist Community Centre on Ypres Avenue at 6:30pm.
Key issues disclosed in the report included the average age of those in the study were diagnosed with cancer was 62, with the earliest timeframe being 1952 and ending in 1999, only three people had a family history of cancer, 92% of those in the study may have had environmental exposure due to their employment as well as hobbies, all the people were exposed to first- or second-hand tobacco smoke, and air pollution from nearby industry, vehicle traffic, and rail may have played a part.
No where in the report do investigators mention the nearby Zalev scrap yard by name nor its role, if any, in the 2.2 times greater instance of cancer in the neighborhood than elsewhere in Ontario. The report concludes that the only carcinogen the study participants were exposed to was tobacco smoke. Ten of the participants, however, expressed concern about the close proximity of the metal recycling facility.
An assessment of air quality was completed in Windsor during 1991-1993 (Committee, Windsor Air Quality, 1994) … It was noted that pollutant concentrations collected in north central Windsor were slightly higher than pollutant concentrations collected at other areas, but no lung cancer carcinogens exceeded existing Ontario air quality criterion. (page 31)
The report did not discuss the dependability of the Ontario air quality safety standards.
Windsor has a statistically significant rate of cancer as compared to the provincial average. Windsor clocks in with almost 447 new cases of cancer per 100,000 of population while the rate is 413 new cases in Ontario. Residents of Remington Park are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with cancer.
The mortality rate from cancer is also significantly greater in Windsor than the rest of the province, with lung cancer being the leading cause of death.
Between 2010 and 2012, nine new cases of lung cancer were reported in Remington Park.
The Health Unit is continuing to monitor the incidents of lung cancer in the area of concern.