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Seacoast Residents Meet with State Experts on Cancer Cluster Report

Jason Moon for NHPR
State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan speaks with Seacoast residents about the recent report concerning cancer clusters.

Residents from several towns in the Seacoast Region gathered last night to hear from state officials about the recent report of a pediatric cancer cluster in Rye.

Experts from the state Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental Services met with a group of about seventy-five concerned residents at Rye Elementary School last night.

They were there to discuss a recent report from DHHS that found unusually high rates of two rare forms of cancer in Rye.

Some residents who spoke at the meeting had concerns that the actual number of cases could be higher than indicated in the report.

Others worried about potential environmental causes of the cancers, and urged more study of the Coakley Landfill and the former Pease Airforce base, both of which are identified as Superfund sites by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said that while there are currently no known environmental causes for these cancers, their investigation is ongoing.

“We want to investigate this further and will investigate this further but we can’t promise we are going to find anything," said Chan. "But we are going to try."

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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