Officials from the state Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental Services, along with lawmakers and area residents met in Portsmouth today for the first meeting of a new task force on the investigation of a cancer cluster on the Seacoast.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the existence of a pediatric cancer cluster in a five-town area of the Seacoast.
Over the past ten years fewer than ten children have been diagnosed with either of the two cancers identified in the cluster. But because of the rarity of these forms of cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma and pleuropulmonary blastoma, officials are looking into whether environmental factors are to blame.
The task force will oversee investigations at sites including the Coakley Landfill and the Seabrook Station Nuclear power plant. They are also tasked with keeping residents in the affected towns informed.
The task force will hold monthly meetings that will be open to the public.