The Department of Health Finds Elevated Levels of Cancer in the Tonawandas

 On Monday the NYS Department of Health finally released it’s long-anticipated Tonawanda health study. The study was initiated after Tonawanda residents called on the agency to investigate the seemingly high rates of illness in their community.

NYS DOH found that lung cancer, bladder cancer, and total cancers were elevated among both males and females; esophageal cancer was elevated among males and uterine cancer was elevated among females. In sub-areas, oral cavity was elevated among males, and leukemia among females. Pre-term births and heart defects were also elevated.  The full report can be found here:

 The Clean Air Coalition’s membership is encouraging political leadership to take the following steps to address the cancer crisis in the Town and City of Tonawanda:

  • NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens should honor his promise to come to Tonawanda and meet with sick residents by March 31st. He should publicly announce his trip by the end of February.
  • Town of Tonawanda should pass a comprehensive land use plan that incorporates residents suggestions to phase out burning coal in the town and improves public access to the waterfront.
  • Policy makers should encourage DuPont to phase out vinyl fluoride at DuPont Tonawanda, the highly flammable carcinogen that led to the explosion that killed a worker in 2011.
  • Get tough on Tonawanda Coke by mandating the company agree to all conditions set out in the consent order. If the conditions are not met by June, DEC and EPA should take the company to court.
  • Empire State Development and the Regional Economic Development Council should allocate more funding for pollution prevention projects that help business’ identify opportunities to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals.
  • Reform our economic development agencies to prevent chronic polluters from continuing to receive our tax-dollars in the form of government subsidies
  • Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature should pass campaign finance reform to ensure resident voices are not drowned out by corporate polluters.



People interested in learning more about pollution in the town can attend the Clean Air Coalition’s public meeting on February 20th at 6:30 at the Brounshidle Post at 3354 Delaware Ave. Residents will share their years-worth of community-based research results. The data presented will include results of air monitoring, the emissions from large manufacturing plants, photographs taken by residents, information on worker safety in the town and more. Attendees will vote on their top health concerns. The results will be used to drive policy change in the Tonawandas.  We know that together we can create a healthier community. 



NYS DOH will also hold a public meeting about the study on February 26th at the Sheridan Parkside Community Center.

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  1. […] Clean Air Coalition said in its press release DEC Commissioner Joe Martens should “honor his promise” to visit Tonawanda to meet with […]

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