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March 5, 2010

State Public Health Department Releases Crestwood Cancer Incidence Study for Public Review
Public meeting scheduled for Saturday, March 13, 2010

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today released its assessment of cancer incidence in Crestwood, Cook County.  IDPH conducted the assessment in response to concerns about cancer incidence in Crestwood following the discovery of contaminants in the Village’s drinking-water system with possible and known cancer-causing chemicals.

“The Illinois Department of Public Health takes the safety and health of all Illinoisans very seriously,” state health director Dr. Damon T. Arnold said.  “I want to reassure the Crestwood community of the thoroughness of the Department’s assessment of the cancer data.  The Illinois State Cancer Registry is rated among the top in the country and continuously receives the highest ranking year after year.”

The Department’s assessment examined cancer cases collected by the Illinois State Cancer Registry through mandated reporting by health facilities throughout Illinois.  The assessment looked at cases of those residents diagnosed with cancer while living in the city of Crestwood from 1994 to 2006.  A total of 952 cancer cases were identified and compared by type, race and gender, to the number and type of cancer cases expected for Cook County and Illinois as a whole during the same time.

The assessment found the number of cases of several types of cancer to be elevated, including lung cancer for both males and females, kidney cancer in males and most gastrointestinal cancers (oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus and colon-rectum cancers) in males.  IDPH’s assessment found that the types of cancer one might expect to be elevated due to exposure to the chemicals found in the Crestwood drinking water, were not found to be elevated.

The assessment could not establish that the cancer elevations observed in Crestwood were related to the historical presence of cancer-causing chemicals in the Village’s drinking-water system.  A number of other risk factors, such as smoking, alcohol use, heredity and workplace exposure, could also be associated with the cancer elevations observed in Crestwood.      

IDPH recommends continuing to monitor cancer incidence rates in Crestwood to evaluate future changes and increasing education and programs promoting colorectal screening.  IDPH also recommends considering additional studies, in collaboration with federal agencies and university researchers, to determine whether there are other factors, such as occupational exposure, that may explain some of the cancer elevations or distribution patterns in Crestwood.  IDPH recommends that residents of Crestwood, like all Illinois residents, be vigilant about their personal health, getting age-appropriate cancer screening as part of their regular physical exams.
IDPH, along with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), will hold a town-hall meeting to review the findings of the Department’s Crestwood cancer incidence assessment and answer any questions from residents in the area and the public at large.  The town-hall meeting will be held on Saturday, March 13 at 2 p.m. in the Ozinga Chapel Auditorium of Trinity Christian College, 6601 West College Drive, Palos Heights, IL 60463.

ATSDR is a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The full IDPH Crestwood (Cook County) Cancer Assessment, along with a Fact Sheet summarizing the data, can be found on the IDPH website at the following links:




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