State study finds increased risk of cancer in Monticello, may be due to tailings from uranium era
Feb 20, 2008 | 572 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Utah Department of Health has released a new report that finds elevated cancer rates among Monticello residents, who have claimed for many years that the community has borne a heavy price as the home of a vanadium and uranium processing mill in the 1940s, 50s and early 60s.

Previously, the federal Center for Disease Control and the state Department of Health conducted several studies that were inconclusive, primarily due to the small size of the population that was studied.

Those who feel that Monticello residents were at risk pointed out a number of potential flaws in the earlier studies, including the population studied and the time frames employed.

Under pressure from the Monticello Victims of Mill Tailings Committee and with the support of state government and federal elected officials, a new study was conducted that attempted to address the weaknesses of the prior studies.

The new study finds an increased risk of lung, bronchial and stomach cancer for Monticello residents in several time periods. These cancers can be related to increased exposure to mill tailings. The study recommends an even more comprehensive study of the hazards and health effects of the mill

In the late 1990s, the US government completed a $250 million superfund cleanup of the mill site and surrounding community. While Monticello has received a clean bill of health at the current time, those who were exposed to the tons of radioactive and poisoneous materials spewing from the mill more than 40 years ago may still carry a health burden.

Members of the Victims of Mill Tailings Committee were excited to receive the results of the new study. “This tells us what we have known all along, but what the government has not admitted” said Fritz Pipkin.

The committee seeks an acknowledgement by the federal government of the risks and possible funding for screening for those who are at risk.
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