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Q&A From the Illinois Department of Public Health
1. Have actual cancer rates (both type and frequency) in the affected area been reflective of the rates cited in the report?
Answering this question is ultimate the goal of the Willowbrook cancer incidence study; however, at this stage, it is too early to say. We have prioritized this study and are moving quickly according to the plan we shared with Willowbrook leadership. At this time, however, we have not reached the point where we can look at actual results.
2. Is there any data available on the incidence of cancer of people living/working/attending school in the area vs. other non-affected areas?
We unfortunately do not have complete data at this point because we are in the early stages of the study. We will be using data from the Illinois State Cancer Registry ("Registry"), which is the only population-based source of cancer data in our state, and including individuals who lived in the study area at the time of cancer diagnosis. Using the Registry also means that individuals who lived somewhere else when their cancer was diagnosed will not be included. Unfortunately, no information is available from the Registry regarding whether and where someone was working or attending school.
3. What are the effects of exposure to look for in adults and children other than lifetime cancer risk? I am not interested in the elevated percentage of cancer across tracts, I want to know at the 2014 rates you have quantified in our region, what would be the physical side effects of this level of exposure for an otherwise healthy child age 5-15, and an adult age 30-50?
For possible non-cancer health effects please consult with the ATSDR or U.S. EPA. Here are the links to the relevant documents from these agencies:
4. What type of data do you have about how the higher levels of emissions before 2001 have affected cancer rates of those who live and work in the area?
We plan to examine multiple years of data for cancer cases that were diagnosed while individuals were residents of the area. Our state cancer registry is one of the best in the country and has high-quality data (as certified by external organizations) going back 20 years. For this study, we intend to use all the high-quality data available from the state cancer registry.