Utah Health Department releases report on Stericycle and cancer cases

Published 02/11 2014 05:44PM

Updated 02/11 2014 07:00PM

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Utah Department of Health released a report Tuesday on the analysis of cancer data in the area surrounding the Stericycle facility in Davis County.

UDOH looked at 35 years of data and epidemiologists say they found no evidence of an increase environmental cancer risk for people who live near the facility.

Stericycle is a medical waste incinerator in north Salt Lake. After receiving 14 violations from the Division of Air Quality, residents who live nearby voiced concerns about health impacts and asked the Department of Health to study possible cancer risks.

Scientists looked at 42 reportable cancers in Bountiful, Centerville, North Salt Lake, West Bountiful and Woods Cross and found no increase in cancers that are attributable to pollution or other environmental exposures.

“I would not recommend people move or sell their houses or take drastic action,” said Lewis Garrett, Davis County Executive Director.

However the study did find six cancer types that are higher than the state average, including colon, prostate, bone and joint, breast, anal cancer for women and cutaneous melanoma.

“Although these cancers were elevated, we could not find any attributable through any pollution or environmental hazards and what we mean by that is these cancers are not the ones that we usually see with environmental exposures,” said Allyn Nakashima, UDOH State Epidemiologist.

At least one Utah doctor taking issue with the study.

Dr. Brian Moench, a known critic of Stericycle, tells ABC 4 Utah the way the study was conducted is flawed.

The state compared the south Davis County data with the rest of the state, which Moench said isn't a fair comparison because 80 percent of Utah's population lives along the Wasatch Front and he believes all of the Wasatch Front could be impacted by adverse health effects from Stericycle. “Emissions travel for hundreds of miles,” he said. “The state is not a good control group to look at.”

Moench said other studies have proven incinerators pose health risks not only causing cancer, but also premature births and neurological diseases.

If you would like to read the state's study, click here.

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