Al Lundeen (916) 440-7259
· Regulatory agencies will continue efforts to reduce arsenic levels in Kettleman City’s drinking water either through improved treatment or a new source of water. This will reduce risks of other health effects related to arsenic. Current levels are not high enough to indicate birth defects.
· While lead was detected in the school and municipal wells, the findings were not consistent with previous tests of the well water. Regulatory agencies will conduct follow-up sampling to verify whether there is lead in the water from two wells. Lead can cause other health problems, but it is not a known cause of birth defects.
· Air officials will investigate benzene emissions from a treatment unit at Kettleman City’s southwest drinking water well. If the regional air district confirms these findings, the state will work with the district to consider corrective actions. · Further testing and possible cleanup may be needed at the home where chlordane was found in the yard.
Although some birth defects shared similar features, for instance, cleft palate, CDPH found that the infants with birth defects had different underlying conditions. The types of birth defects identified were common types of birth defects. The CDPH report also examined cancer rates for the census tract of the area of the State that includes Kettleman City. It found cancer rates overall were statistically lower than what would be expected for a similar population. However, among children less than 15 years of age, there were five cancers diagnosed during a 12-year period, while fewer than three childhood cancers would be anticipated. Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia comprised the majority of these childhood cancers. The children with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia resided in areas of the census tract other than Kettleman City. “While overall cancers rates in the area are lower than what would be expected based on statistical averages,” said Director Horton, “we will continue to monitor cancer activity, especially childhood cancers.” The draft report is being distributed throughout the Kettleman City community, including copies available at the local post office, library, and elementary school. The report is also posted online at www.calepa.ca.gov/EnvJustice/News/ and on the CDPH Web site. Cal/EPA and CDPH are accepting written comments on the report until December 21, 2010.
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