Pollutants 'not blamed' for cancer

GLADSTONE'S cancer risks have been tabled in State Parliament following a special report on the issue in The Observer earlier this week.

Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas said in response to the matter raised by Member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham, air quality and environmental factors would not be blamed for the high rates of cancer in Gladstone.

Mr Lucas said the Human Health Risk Assessment report released two weeks ago indicated that there were no issues arising as result of the report.

“The review showed Gladstone had broadly the same incidences of these diseases as the rest of Queensland, with the only exception being a higher rate of chronic lymphoid leukaemia. Queensland Health department figures show that between 1996 and 2004, the rate of chronic lymphoid leukaemia was 108 per cent higher than the whole of Queensland.”

The Observer reported that according to the Queensland Cancer Council on average 132 people living in Gladstone were diagnosed with cancer each year from 2003 to 2007, which 10 per cent higher in Gladstone compared to all of Queensland.

Mr Lucas said the review did not identify environmental factors such as pollutants that would have contributed to or caused high rates of chronic lymphoid leukaemia.

“It found that air quality and environmental factors could not be blamed,” Mr Lucas said.

In raising the issue, Ms Cunningham said the recent clean and healthy air study dealt with air quality. “Will the minister ensure that the causes of this higher diagnosis rate are thoroughly investigated,” Ms Cunningham said.

“I am more than happy to seek advice from my department,” Mr Lucas said.



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