Pediatric cancer in Loire-Atlantique: no "common cause" has been identified

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The epidemiological study conducted since March by Public Health France (SPF) on group cases of pediatric cancers in the sector of Sainte-Pazanne (Loire-Atlantique), near Nantes, failed to identify a common cause, announced Tuesday the Regional Health Agency (ARS) Pays de la Loire.

The epidemiological analysis, whose results were presented Monday to the families, "validates the fact that the number of pediatric cancers on the sector of the 7 communes (studied, note) over the period 2015-2019 is greater than what the we observe on average in France ".

On the other hand, the epidemiological questionnaire sent to 13 affected families did not identify any common risk factor already documented in the scientific literature.

No "additional investigations or levies"

The living conditions of the mother before, during and after the pregnancy, the father's life, the children's eating habits, places of vacation, schooling, childcare, etc., were questioned.

"The results of this work lead Public Health France to conclude the presence of a spatio-temporal grouping without common cause identified," the statement said. This leads the health agency to recommend "not to continue epidemiological investigations locally" and "not to undertake additional environmental investigations and sampling".

SpF proposes to "put in place active surveillance to identify any new cancer cases in the sector". "There is a higher concentration of cases but we stop the epidemiological study, it is inadmissible, unacceptable and intolerable", denounced Marie Thibaud, member of the collective "Stop cancer of our children", which lists 20 cases of cancers and four children who died in the Sainte-Pazanne sector between 2015 and 2019.

"We are told that there is no one factor common to all families, but there are actually several factors common to many families. Thirty years ago, there was a common cause for diseases like asbestos. Today we must review the methodology and take environmental samples to understand the effects cocktail of the environment on health, "she adds.

A public meeting scheduled in Saint-Pazanne

Regarding housing built on the former site Leduc, where were manufactured of frames, the analyzes "discard the existence of a health risk for the inhabitants of these dwellings". Additional analyzes will however be conducted.

Environmental measures are also planned in 17 housing units for children with cancer by the end of January 2020, as well as a second campaign of "removal of doubt" in the Notre-Dame de Lourdes school in Sainte-Pazanne.

The health agency recognizes that scientific knowledge "on the causes of childhood cancer and the potential role of environmental exposures in this process remain fragmented".

"Basic research (…) should allow in the future to enrich knowledge and improve the investigation tools available to answer the questions of the population," she said. A public meeting is scheduled for November 25 in the town hall of Sainte-Pazanne.

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