2004 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 25 Oct 2004 15:54:29 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] perchlorate exposure model
Submitted by Larry Ladd <llladd@sprintmail.com>


As you most generously posted on your military toxics list, when Annie
Jarabek asked me in 1998 to produce a national exposure model for
perchlorate I suggested a GIS search that first selected state economic
areas high for age-adjusted male connective tissue cancer mortality,
1970-1994. Amongst those state economic areas, I suggested that for a
second filter higher priority be given to state economic areas that also
have relatively high female thyroid cancer mortality rates. This
highlighted places like Provo UT (Hill AFB, Thiokol), Amarillo TX
(Pantex) and Waco TX (McGregor). 

Never did settle on a third "drill-down" filter for the county level,
although there were a couple of candidates: 

Age-adjusted male overall cancer mortality 1970-1994, which is largely
driven by age of death from lung cancer. 


Within California this highlighted Sutter County where Hercules Powder
dumped perchlorate into the Sutter Basin, Sacramento County and Aerojet,
Merced County with 30 ppb perchlorate being reported (and then
retracted) in Los Banos, Kern County with it's early mechanized cotton
and Edwards AFB, and San Bernardino County with it's high male
connective tissue cancer mortality. In the east what was of interest was
the elevated mortality on the Potomac below the Allegeny Arsenal, the
elevated mortality along the New River below the Radford Arsenal (PCBs a
confounding factor here), and the elevated mortality along the Spring
River in northeast OK downstream from ICI Joplin. These are all in
low-mountain regions where county lines capture the outline of

As far as flat featureless plains go, in West Texas it was the rural
counties around Amarillo, Hockley County with it's alleged
perchlorate-generating Levelland water tower and Karen Summers with the
perchlorate index cancer (RAS-driven thyroid cancer), and then the
Salado Formation/Permian basin region between Midland TX and Roswell NM.
 Dumping from petroleum exploration is a big-time confounding factor in
the last case. You could argue that perchlorate-generating industries
raise incomes, and thus cigarette consumption, in otherwise poor areas. 

Another candidate filter was female brain cancer mortality 1950-1969 to
pick up deaths from benign brain tumors that didn't kill after the
introduction of the CAT scan in 1970.


On the county level this highlighted Kern County CA (Senator Clair
Engle's birthplace), southeast New Mexico underlain by the Salado
Formation, and the Mesabi Range iron mining district. 


What was of interest on the state economic area scale was the contrast
between Southern California and the Bay Area.


If you were to search for a relationship between environmental
perchlorate and breast cancer, the first place to look would be Luna
County and the city of Deming in southwest NM, where perchlorate is in
the water supply. Presumably the perchlorate is a legacy from the
pounding the Miembres basin took with perchlorate-flash powder tipped
concrete practice bombs during WWII. 



I hypothesized the following microscale mechanisms to explain the
macroscale patterns: connective tissue cancer--elevated transforming
growth factor beta and thus elevated connective tissue growth factor;
thyroid -- Hiasa 1987 acceleration of RAS-driven cancer, possibly from
failure of tumor-necrosis-factor-alpha-triggered apoptosis (cell
harikari); benign brain tumors from calcium influx and failure of merlin
tumor suppressor. Breast fibrosis is also associated with calcium flux
and transforming growth factor beta imbalance. 

Thanks again for all of your help. 


Larry Ladd


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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