On April 12, 2001, the New York State Department of Health Cancer Registry released a report entitled "Distribution of Cancer Among Former and Current Brookhaven National Laboratory Workers." The report compares the distribution of various types of cancers in the Brookhaven work force to the populations of Suffolk, Nassau and upstate New York. This information will help the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health weigh the feasibility and advisability of doing a thorough epidemiological study of the Brookhaven work force.

The assessment was proposed in 1996, when some employees expressed concerns about the possibility that more workers at Brookhaven may be diagnosed with cancer than expected. The Cancer Registry undertook the assessment at the request of the Department of Energy's Office of Health Studies. The Registry collects data on cancers diagnosed in New York State residents in and out of state.

Worker Health Assessment Report (PDF)

Statement From John Marburger, Brookhaven National Laboratory Director, On Worker Cancer Assessment

"I am pleased, but not surprised, that this assessment finds no elevation of radiosensitive solid cancers among Brookhaven employees, and that overall distribution of cancers does not deviate significantly from Long Island and New York State levels. This Laboratory has made worker health and safety a priority since its earliest days, and we welcome any means of verifying the effectiveness of that policy.

The assessment was intended to identify areas that warrant further investigation, and two such areas were noted. In particular, the assessment suggests the need to look at lymphocytic leukemias in women and malignant melanomas in men. The number of individual cancer cases detected was so small that it is not possible at this point to draw meaningful conclusions from these observations. Now we have to work with the Department of Energy to help the New York State Department of Health Cancer Registry and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health develop a plan that will lead to a more definite conclusion about these cases.

My overall impression of the assessment data is that it confirms a population of healthy workers.  But more work is needed to follow up on the few cases where excess cancers were noted."


Statement on Worker Cancer Assessment by Michael Holland , DOE Brookhaven Area Office Manager

"I am most grateful for the cooperation of DOE's Office of Health Studies and the New York State Department of Health's  Cancer Registry in conducting the BNL worker cancer assessment for us.  The assessment provides the Laboratory and its community with another important data point about employees’ health and safety at the Laboratory.

The assessment compares the distribution of various types of cancers in the BNL work force to the populations of New York (excluding New York City) and Nassau and Suffolk counties.  The assessment verifies that there is no elevation in cases of radiosensitive solid cancers in current and former BNL employees, and that the distribution of cancers among this group of people is similar to that of the broader state and Long Island populations.

Now, the Department will work with the Laboratory and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to determine appropriate next steps for this information."

Previous coverage
The progress of the Worker Health Assessment has been chronicled in the Brookhaven Bulletin since 1998. Those articles are available in the links below.
"Cancer Distribution Among BNLers is the Same as In Residents of Suffolk, Nassau, Upstate"

Read this article in the PDF version of the Bulletin.


"Meetings Address Issues Related to Health of BNL Employees"

Read this article in the PDF version of the Bulletin.


"Refinements to Roster, Protocols Delay Worker Cancer Assessment"

Read this article in the PDF version of the Bulletin or in plain text.


"BNL Cancer Assessment — Where Does It Stand?" 

Read this article in the PDF version of the Bulletin or in plain text.

  

Last updated on November 29, 2004 by CEGPA.