The Oregon Public Health Division (PHD) becomes involved in investigations of sites where a health hazard may exist. West Salem experienced more osteosarcoma cases than expected during 2008-2012. PHD conducted an initial analysis that indicated there was not enough information to determine if cases could be attributed to a specific cause. No new cases of osteosarcoma have been identified in the West Salem area since 2012.
Continued concern from community members prompted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to initiate an environmental assessment of the West Salem area in April, 2013 to identify any potential environmental issues that might increase cancer risks and require environmental cleanup. As the
Assessmentsreport points out, contaminants identified in samples taken from sites in the West Salem area were well below levels considered unhealthy under Oregon Department of Environmental Quality standards.
In light of the EPA Preliminary Assessments report's findings, PHD has found no evidence that recent cases of osteosarcoma among young people in the West Salem community can be attributed to contaminants identified in the samples. Additionally, there is a lack of scientific evidence showing a direct causal link between contaminants identified in the samples and osteosarcoma. As a result of these findings, PHD will continue to closely monitor the situation and investigate any further cases in the area.
Table 1: Osteosarcoma rates, age <25 years, Oregon compared to other states, 2007-2011
Table 2: Osteosarcoma rates in Oregon, by county, 1996-2012
*An important caveat to the release of the requested data is that we apply a standard to all data released to protect the confidentiality of Oregonians. In cases where there are fewer than 10 cases in a county, the data are suppressed, which will be noted in the data table. In the case of the maps, the same suppression rule will apply.
**The age group comparison for the West Salem analysis.