Friday, April 1, 2011

42 Most Toxic Places To Live In The USA: Are You Living In A Disease Cluster?

An unusually large number of people sickened by a disease in a certain place and time is known as a ‘disease cluster’. Clusters of cancer, birth defects, and other chronic illnesses have sometimes been linked to chemicals or other toxic pollutants in local communities, although these links can be controversial. There is a need for better documentation and investigation of disease clusters to identify and address possible causes. Meanwhile, toxic chemicals should be identified and controlled through reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act, so these chemicals don’t pollute communities and sicken people.

The states with disease clusters include: Texas, California, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.
Credit: National Disease Clusters Alliance

Due to a lack of resources, the limited statistical power in doing investigations of small communities or rare diseases, and a lack of knowledge about exposures, it has been difficult for state and federal agencies to shed light on most disease clusters and their causes. There is a need for better documentation and investigation of disease clusters and their causes. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Michael Crapo (R-ID), have introduced legislation that would address at least some of these problems, by ensuring that the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies can, and will, provide the resources necessary for investigations and other support, where state-level expertise or resources are not available.

Credit: National Disease Clusters Alliance

Credit: National Disease Clusters Alliance


Credit: National Disease Clusters Alliance

See the other states. 

In the United States, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is the primary law that ensures the safety of industrial chemicals used in commercial and consumer products by regulating their use, from manufacturing to eventual disposal.

Unfortunately, because of major flaws in the law the regulation of toxic chemicals in the United
States has been a failure. As a result, dangerous chemicals, including those known to cause cancer, birth defects, and learning and developmental disabilities are still used widely with few, if any, restrictions. These include many of the chemicals which have been linked to some disease clusters, including TCE, dioxins, and asbestos. Better testing and regulation of the thousands of toxic chemicals may stop disease clusters and protect people.

Control toxic chemicals.that can come into our homes, our workplaces and our schools is critical for reducing the cancer and other chronic illnesses and disease that affect our communities.

An issue paper about disease clusters in particular states was developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Disease Cluster Alliance to inform people about disease clusters affecting communities across the country. All of these disease clusters have been confirmed or are currently undergoing an official investigation, though in most cases the cause of the cluster is unknown.

The disease clusters spotlighted in the factsheet series illustrate the need for:

1. Directing and funding federal agencies to swiftly assist state and local officials, and investigate community concerns about potential disease clusters and their causes;

2.Reducing or eliminating toxic releases into air, water, soil and food through stronger environmental controls and tough enforcement of those requirements; and

3.Requiring chemical manufacturers to ensure the safety of their products.

Other Disease Clusters and Hot Spots (click here for the  interactive version of the map)
Cluster Map

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held an oversight hearing on disease clusters and environmental health. This hearing assessed the potential environmental health effects related to disease clusters. Erin Brockovich, President of Brockovich Research and Consulting was among the witnesses testifying.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) chairs the committee.

S. 76, Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities From Disease Clusters Act
click here for a .pdf of the bill

Contacts and sources: 

Related links:
CDC Cancer Clusters Information
National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Cluster Information
Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Links to State Health Departments


  1. Well, hoping that it's cleared and freed from those illnesses and diseases..

    . dave

    My Other Blogs:
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