BOUNTIFUL - An analysis of 35 years' worth of cancer data says there is no increased environmental cancer risk associated with North Salt Lake's Stericycle facility.
The study analyzed the area around the Stericycle medical waste facility in North Salt Lake. It was done by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) at the request of the Davis County Health Department.
The UDOH Environmental Epidemiology Program looked at all reportable cancers in south Davis County, a press release issued Tuesday afternoon said.
It included the cities of Bountiful, Centerville, North Salt Lake, West Bountiful and Woods Cross.
The study did show rates higher than the state average for breast cancer, 2000-2011, and prostate, 1988-1999. Six cancer types were found to be higher than the state average in the last six-year study period, so it can’t be determined if those rates are evidence of the beginning of a cluster, or simply random variation of the data, until another study period elapses, the release said.
Those cancers are: colon, prostate, cutaneous melanoma (a type of skin cancer), bone and joint, breast and anal cancer among women.
None of those cancers are typically associated with environmental exposure, the department said.
“These cancers are all highly preventable through lifestyle choices and regular health screenings,” said Robert Rolfs, M.D., UDOH deputy director. He added that “no links to air, water or soil have ever been established for these types of cancer.”
Davis County Health Department Director Lewis Garrett had requested the study.
Some residents had called his department, “worried about a Notice of Violation lodged against Steriycle by the Utah Division of Air Quality,” Garrett said. “I wanted to know if our residents have suffered quantifiable health effects from Stericycle operations.”
He said the initial study establishes a baseline for future investigations into the health of county residents.
As a part of the investigation, UDOH collected soil samples to check for levels of dioxin and heavy metals near Stericycle’s North Salt Lake plant. A statistical investigation of adverse birth outcomes in south Davis is also being conducted, the release said.
Results of both studies should be available in a few months.
Several grass roots citizen groups have conducted demonstrations against Stericycle staying in North Salt Lake.