Association Between Hazardous Chemical Sites and Illness

G. Fred Lee, PhD, MSPH, PE, DEE and Anne Jones-Lee, PhD
G. Fred Lee & Associates
27298 E. El Macero Drive, El Macero, CA 95618
Ph: (530)753-9630 Fx: (530)753-9956 Em: gfredlee@aol.com
www.gfredlee.com
January 18, 2007

An issue of considerable concern to those living or working near hazardous chemical sites, including municipal and industrial landfills and Superfund sites, is the potential for releases from these sites to cause illness, such as an increased risk of cancer, birth defects, etc. As discussed by Lee and Jones-Lee (2007) in their review of the “Flawed Technology” of today’s minimum design municipal solid waste landfills, it has been repeatedly found that there appears to be an increase in illness rates for those living or working near hazardous chemical sites; however, definitive information on the magnitude of this increase has been lacking. This situation is now changing, where several studies have been published which show an association of illness to the proximity to hazardous chemical sites/landfills.

The association of illness with hazardous chemical sites, including landfills, has been of concern for many years. Typically, the epidemiological studies that have been conducted have not had the sensitivity needed to make a strong association between releases from the hazardous waste site/landfill and the population near the site. This is typically the result of the fact that the number of individuals potentially impacted is small compared to that which is needed for a definitive correlation using epidemiological techniques. The studies discussed below show that there is a potential association between a particular type of illness (birth defects or clinical diabetes requiring hospitalization) and proximity to hazardous chemical sites.

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References:

Source: G. Fred Lee and Associates

Hatfield Consultants The World Bank funded by the Canadian POPs Trust Fund through the      
Canadian International Development Agency
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