A study released by the EPA on child cancer causes doesn’t give parents and health advocates much to be happy about.

The study, presented during Monday night’s quarterly meeting of the Toms River Citizens Action Committee for Childhood Cancer Cluster (TRCAC-CCC), details the results of a ten year study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) on the effects of the chemical group known as SAN Trimer on rats.

The rodents were given various amounts of SAN Trimer over various periods of time (seven weeks, eighteen weeks, and two years). The results showed there was no definitive correlation of SAN Trimer causing cancer in either the male or female rats.

The results are not sitting well with the TRCAC-CCC president Linda Gillick who believes the tests were “flawed” and didn’t simulate any of the additional factors like radiological exposure or the other “600 chemicals in the drinking water” that could contribute to SAN Trimer being a carcinogen.

Gillick cites a difference in the amount of childhood cancers, especially leukemia, within the town since the contaminated wells have been taken off line.

Though they don’t know of any studies that could provide more accurate results, they have been advocating for the past decade about the folly of any single test.

“We have not seen results in testing anywhere in the country that have been able to see and show us what the causes of many cancers are.”

The NTP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be holding a meeting in the fall present the report in more detail and discuss the findings. One of the matters that likely will be discussed during the meeting are results showing Astrocytic and granular cell tumors in the brains of several rats in the two year study. There were also spinal tumors found in some of the rats in the two year study as well. However, those findings were considered uncertain after a peer review of the findings.

Gillick feels the tumors shouldn’t be ignored.

“We are always hearing, “there’s not enough data” or “the amount is too little for us to draw conclusions”.  Know what? When it’s showing that there are different tumors are being produced, yes you need to look further.”

Representatives from the Department of Health, EPA, BASF (the new owners of Ciba Geigy), United Water, and Union Carbide were all in attendance during the meeting. The most notable absence was from the state Department of Environmental Protection, which according to Gillick hasn’t been to a meeting of theirs “for a couple years.”  Which the head of the CACCC says makes them feel like the DEP “doesn’t care’.

“We know financially government is struggling, I know there’s been a lot of retirements and privatizations, but when you have a community that’s been impacted that the DEP was a very big part of this, that we have contaminated sites that are overseen by the DEP and questions are being asked and there’s no one here to answer them.”  Adding, “it’s a slap in the face and they should be ashamed of themselves.”

Jerald Fagliano, Health Science Specialist/Program Manager with the State Department of Health notes cancer rates have been looking positive.

“For brain cancer it has been relatively stable, and similar to the state as a whole.”

Fagliano says the past decades of clean up and mitigation efforts have made a difference.

“If you look over time, there has been considerable progress made in reducing the amount of contamination in the environment. The drinking water wells that had been contaminated back in the 1980’s and early 1990’s have not been contaminated for many years now.”

Gillick agrees the efforts have made Toms River’s water supply significantly safer, noting the town is “one of the most watched in the country" when it comes to water quality.

While the EPA and NTP will have their meeting in the fall, the TRCAC-CCC will continue holding their fall meeting as well. Even though the results from the study show no connection to cancer, Gillick says they still will continue monitoring cancer studies in the area, overseeing the clean up of the once contaminated wells, and making sure the sites where the barrels of dangerous chemicals were dumped continue being mitigated.

“We cannot just sit back and say “OK this is over with”, it’s not. As long as children and adults are being affected, as long as we do not have the answers to what has caused this problem, we can’t just say “ok that’s it” and walk away.”

View the report.