Cancer Cluster at UCSD Building?

University staffers and professors who work inside the UCSD Literature Building are concerned about an alarming number of breast cancer cases.

Read the Report on the Building

There have been at least eight cases of breast cancer involving people who work or worked in the building since 2000, according to an online petition that now has more than 1,300 names. 

A June study commissioned by the university concluded that the incidence of breast cancer is four to five times higher  than would normally be expected in California's population, according to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune. An international expert on electromagnetic fields is now conducting an investigation on behalf of the university to see if there is a problem and what is causing the cancer, the paper reported.

"While that investigation is being conducted, the University has shut down both elevators that have been suspected sources of electromagnetic fields (EMFs), " said UCSD Associate Vice Chancellor, Stacie Spector.

The petition asserts that the "electromagnetic field in the building associated with electrical system and elevator exceeds the safety limit established by many U.S. studies."

Many of the petitioners have added comments along with their signatures, including Lorriz Alvarado, who writes, "Please address this situation. Putting people's lives at risk is negligent," and Professor Anya Gallaccio, who wrote, "Please replace the elevator immediately."

As for complaints about the building that stem from last June, the University requested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety perform an evaluation of the Literature Building.

According to Spector, the CDC reviewed the report prepared by Dr. Garland and concluded that a Health Hazards Evaluation was not warranted.

Dr. Garland noted in his report that the EMF he observed “is not prohibited by any known U.S. national exposure standard”
and that the “exposure is unlikely to be a principal cause of breast cancer that has been diagnosed in people who have worked in this small area.”

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