Community Cancer Assessment in Response to Long-Time Exposure to Perchlorate and Trichloroethylene in Drinking Water

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In response to concerns about cancer stemming from drinking water contaminated with ammonium perchlorate and trichloroethylene, we assessed observed and expected numbers of new cancer cases for all sites combined and 16 cancer types in a California community (1988 to 1998). The numbers of observed cancer cases divided by expected numbers defined standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and 99% confidence intervals (CI). No significant differences between observed and expected numbers were found for all cancers (SIR, 0.97; 99% CI, 0.93 to 1.02), thyroid cancer (SIR, 1.00; 99% CI, 0.63 to 1.47), or 11 other cancer types. Significantly fewer cases were observed than expected for cancer of the lung and bronchus (SIR, 0.71; 99% CI, 0.61 to 0.81) and the colon and rectum (SIR, 0.86; 0.74 to 0.99), whereas more cases were observed for uterine cancer (SIR, 1.35; 99% CI, 1.06 to 1.70) and skin melanoma (SIR, 1.42; 99% CI, 1.13 to 1.77). These findings did not identify a generalized cancer excess or thyroid cancer excess in this community.

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