Final Results Released In Pratt & Whitney Cancer Study

May 24, 2013

Researchers have released their final results in a huge, decade-long cancer study involving Pratt & Whitney workers.  

Concern over the health and safety of workers at Pratt & Whitney began in the early 2000s. Several workers, all employees at the North Haven plant, were found to have died from a rare form of brain cancer.  

Researchers were brought in to first, find out how many cases of cancer there were among workers; then compare that with rates among the general population.

University of Pittsburgh professor Gary Marsh has been a primary researcher on the study.

"The results of our incidence study found no statistically significant elevation in rates among the workforce compared to the general population of the US and CT."

There was particular concern about exposure to chemicals, so the last part of the study focused on workplace conditions. Again, Gary Marsh.

"Work in this Pratt and Whitney environment basically does not elevate your risk of developing brain cancer. That was the big concern, and a lot of people for many years have been worried about that. And I think that they can be reassured that our study found no evidence that this is happening."

At a public meeting last night, some Pratt & Whitney employees expressed skepticism at the findings.  Debra Belancik told WTNH that with 5 people in the same department, all exposed to the same chemicalsl coming down with the same form of brain cancer, it seemed like too much of a coincidence.  

The study was commissioned by Pratt & Whitney and overseen by the state Department of Public Health. It involved almost ¼ million workers at eight Pratt and Whitney sites.

For WNPR, I’m  Diane Orson.