Study: Florida cancer hot spots higher hazardous waste sites

Florida has the sixth highest number of hazardous waste sites in the U.S. The Sunshine States is also projected to have the second largest number of new cancer cases in the country.

A new study says there just may be a connection.

Researchers from the University of Florida and the University of Missouri School of Medicine studied cancer incidence rates in relation to Superfund hazardous waste sites and found a possible correlation, according to an article in Science Daily 

“We reviewed adult cancer rates in Florida from 1986 to 2010,” said Emily Leary, assistant professor at the MU School of Medicine and co-author of the study. “We found the rate of cancer incidence increased by more than 6 percent in counties with Superfund sites.”

Florida is home to 77 sites that currently are or have been classified as Superfund sites by the Environmental Protection Agency. Adults cancers were the only one studied since pediatric cancers tend to be genetic.

“This work is novel because it is another piece of evidence to support an environmental cause of cancer,” Leary said.

“While it would be premature to say these differences are attributed to Superfund sites, there does appear to be an association. ”

Alexander Kirpich, a post-doctoral associate at the University of Florida and co-author of the study, said the hope is that the findings will help public health agencies dedicate more efforts to areas with cancer hot spots.”

The study, “Superfund Locations and Potential Associations with Cancer Incidence in Florida,” recently was published online in Statistics and Public Policy.