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'Significant' Cancer Levels Discovered At Suffolk County School District, Report Says

Northport High School
Northport High School Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

A study has found that people living near or who attend school in a New York school district had "significant" higher cancer incidents.

The study found the number of residents of all ages living within the Northport-East Northport School District had a "statistically significant," higher rate of cancer, reported ABC 7 Eyewitness News.

The types of cancer found in excess included pancreatic cancer, malignant melanoma of the skin, uterine (corpus) cancer, and prostate cancer," the study said.

The study also found that people living within the area of Northport Middle School had particularly elevated levels of cancer, ABC 7 said. 

The study was started in 2020 by the district after a "concerning" number of graduates of Northport High School Class of 2016 were diagnosed with leukemia, ABC 7 reported.

The study found that seven graduates were diagnosed with leukemia, while statistically there should only be two.

A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health told News 7 that the 2019 numbers weren't available when the study was underway and that they would not have caused much change to the data.

Since 2017, ABC 7 Eyewitness News has been reporting on cancer cases at Northport Middle School. In 2020, a ground survey found benzene in soil samples from two septic systems located on the property.

According to the CDC, benzene is a potentially dangerous chemical that can cause headaches, confusion, and cancer if someone is exposed for a long period of time. 

At the time, air testing did not detect benzene or any other harmful airborne chemical inside the school building or from soil samples near the septic tanks, ABC 7 reported.

In an abundance of caution, the school was temporarily closed temporarily and an environmental consulting firm recommended the district carry out a variety of cleanup procedures, News 7 said.

The health department told ABC 7 that it does not believe the community should be alarmed by the study.

A number of residents are still pursuing a class-action lawsuit against the district for negligence, ABC 7 said.

Click here to read the entire ABC 7 story.

Click here to read the entire study. 

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