Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will again evaluate data to determine if there is a “cancer cluster” present in Flower Mound, the City Council has announced. The study is expected to finish in June and will examine data through 2011.
According to Mayor Tom Hayden, the town needs a review, given the last analysis completed by University of Texas professor Dr. Rachael Rawlin. Last week, Rawlin and her team communicated that the state study released in 2010 was imperfect and the Mayor is now concerned. “No one on Council wants anyone to go through the difficulties of cancer,” he said.
Dr. Rawlin’s research initiative investigated the same data as the state (19997-2008), but it has relied on a 95 percent confidence interval, unlike the 99 percent used by the state. As a result, there was a 95 percent chance that the increased cases of cancer among children (diagnosed with leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma) were not random.
“We should think about looking carefully at toxic commission in relation to public health effects,” Rawlins said in an interview last week, at News 8. Four years ago, the program has profiled three Flower Mound families with children diagnosed with cancer.
Two families have already blamed the increased fracking operations in the area, whose emissions includes a carcinogen associated with cancer, benzene. Although there was no connection made between tracking and the presence of benzene in Flower Mound, the families are calling for more studies. “The number of individual cancer cases can fluctuate significantly from year to year, particularly with rarer cancers and in such small geographic areas,” the state health department said, in a writer statement.
The 2010 state study and the Rawlins analysis didn’t search for causes of the cancer cases; they only evaluate if the rate of cancer was elevated or not. The air monitoring that the city has done in recent years has not found anything that merits concern.