In 2002, NCEH initiated a centralized inquiry system within the CDC, the Cancer Cluster Public Inquiry Triage System (CCPITS; CDC 2004) for responding to cancer cluster inquiries from various audiences such as individual citizens, state health departments, and other federal agencies (Figure 1).
When contacted about a potential cancer cluster, NCEH defers to state health departments to provide the first level of response.
Because the media plays a large role in shaping public perception of cancer as well as community concerns about cancer, NCEH conducted a descriptive study of cancer cluster reports in the popular media and characterized the media reports retrieved.
In 2001, NCEH conducted a survey to assess state protocols for responding to cancer cluster inquiries and state criteria for conducting investigations.
To understand further the experiences of state health departments during recent cancer cluster investigations, NCEH conducted site visits to four states (New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts, Ohio) in which there were in-depth investigations of leukemia in circumscribed areas, documented protocols for handling cluster inquiries, and considerable experience and expertise in the investigation of disease clusters.
"We have a series of high-tech industries in the state that use chemicals that are really not used in other parts of the country." As former director of the NCEH
, Jackson led the CDC's biomonitoring program from 1994 to 2003.
Vince's public health achievements will continue to have an impact well beyond his years of service."--John Sarisky, chief of the Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch, NCEH
NCEH and ATSDR stand ready to support jurisdictions as they continue to develop their public health emergency preparedness programs.
* National Center for Environmental Health's (NCEH) Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response: www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/disaster/casper
* NCEH's National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network: https://ephtracking.
* NCEH's Laboratory Response Network for Chemical Threats: https://emergency.cdc.