| Northamptonshire Health Authority
are satisfied that there is no evidence that residents in the Pembroke
Road area are at higher risk of developing cancer from environmental hazards
than other residents in the county.
The Health Authority cannot
set up a special epidemiological study to try and discover what caused
leukaemia in the children from the Spencer Estate because a local study
would be unable to answer this question. It would be disingenuous
and raise false hopes in the community.
We feel that it is vital that
research is continued to identify the causes of leukaemia so that we
can institute appropriate preventive measures when these are identified.
We think that it is important that there are well designed scientific studies
that are large enough to be able to answer the questions they are addressing.
Sound scientific studies are in progress to address many of the
questions raised by the families and we eagerly await their findings.
We would encourage the setting
up of an epidemiological study to look at whether there is an association
between childhood cancer and railway lines. We believe such a study
should use the best and latest data available from the National Registry
of Childhood Tumours and have access to accurate geographical information.
The Health Authority will continue
to actively review the scientific evidence as it is produced so that we
can respond quickly if appropriate preventive measures are identified.
Part of our role is to give information
about health and environmental hazards to the public and to respond appropriately
to the community's anxiety. We did not do this satisfactorily in
1993 and we hope that this report will put that right. We hope it
answers many of the questions people have raised but we welcome further
discussion with the families from the Pembroke Road area so that we can
understand their worries and help them understand and interpret the scientific
evidence about leukaemia in children. We will maintain contact with
After the families have had a
chance to read and discuss this report, assuming they would like to have
the opportunity to discuss any issues it raises with the Health Authority,
the Borough Council and local and national experts, we will organise another
We recommend that locally:
houses are tested for radon gas
appropriate preventive measures are implemented in homes where radon levels
children should not play on railway land
we work closely with the public and the media to improve the understanding
of hazards and risks from the environment and other causes