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Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.1592-A (Libous) / A.1143-A (Brodsky)

Support

SUBJECT:

Creation of Cancer Incidence Mapping Program

 

DATE:

June 16, 2008

 

The Business Council opposes this legislation, which would require the commissioners of Health and Environmental Conservation to develop a map of cancer clusters to be transposed against the physical locations of environmental facilities throughout the state.

This bill would require the collection of information on the locations of environmental facilities and cases of cancer. This information would be collected to help physicians and health care professionals determine if there are any environmental, occupational or social factors that can lead to certain types of cancer.

While this is a laudable goal, the bill ultimately directs the Health Commissioner to draw a nexus between the location of environmental facilities and incidences of cancer where there may not be one. Most causes of cancer are not attributable to chemicals in the environment. Genetics and lifestyle choices are thought to play a much bigger role in causing cancer.

Creating cancer maps could lead to unfair assumptions about the health and safety of a facility without drawing the necessary correlation between the incidence of cancer and the facility. There must be explanatory information to inform the public of the nature of the cancer incidence. This would lower the level of public fear and lessen the rush for investigations of facilities where there may be a higher level of cancer incidence in the area.

The Legislature has previously passed legislation that requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to make additional information pertaining to environmental permits and other data published in the Environmental Notice Bulletin readily available to the public by electronic means, categorized by zip code, municipality and global system coordinates (GPS). This data can be mapped with a GPS software program and compared to the existing cancer maps already produced by the department of Health under existing law.

For these reasons, The Business council opposes adoption of S.1592-A/1143-A.