Marin Environmental Data Study (MEDS)
||Barlow J, Flodmark A, Radtke J, Kianfar S, Yaghoubi S, Farren G,
Patterson C, and Yarish T
||Marin Breast Cancer Watch
University of California, Berkeley
||State of California Department of Health Services, Cancer Research
Program though the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services
The purpose of the Marin Environmental Data Study was to set forth the
foundation for a community-specific database by investigating community
concerns about environmental problems that may relate to breast cancer
in Marin, and subsequently identifying existing data sets that may be
used to address these concerns.
This was achieved through eight clearly defined activities:
Solicit community input regarding possible current and historical
environmental events and concerns that may relate to breast cancer in
Members of the community had opportunities to contribute their input or
concerns about potential environmental causes of breast cancer through
several different methods. These options included completing a short questionnaire
on the Marin Breast Cancer Watch (MBCW) website, attending a workshop
series conducted by MBCW or alternate freeform methods such as email or
telephone. These avenues were publicized together using a diversity of
strategies, including newspaper articles, televised public service announcements,
and flyer distributions at community town meetings, corporations, libraries,
and farmers markets.
Identify sources of selected other community environmental studies
relating to breast cancer.
Significant reports about community-based studies that sought to examine
environmental risk exposures and breast cancer in other high-incidence
geographic locations were obtained, reviewed, and summarized. Two areas
of focus were Massachusetts (The Newton Study and Cape Cod Study by the
Silent Spring Institute) and Long Island, New York (The Long Island Breast
Cancer Study Project).
Identify sources of environmental data for Marin County.
Sources of environmental data were sought for six categories of environmental
- Air Pollution
- Electromagnetic Fields
- Geology and Land Use (including animal waste management)
- Pesticide Use
- Toxic Sites, Hazardous Waste, and Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
- Water Quality
Internet search engines were used to locate existing data sets related
to the six environmental factors/exposures listed above. Emphasis was
placed (where possible) on sources of data most relevant to breast cancer
etiology. In addition, a study consultant conducted personal interviews
with the general managers of Marins nine water districts.
Obtain documentation for selected data sets.
For each identified data set that was selected for MEDS inclusion, a brief
protocol was provided that explains where and how the data set and its
documentation may be obtained.
Provide a descriptive summary for each data set.
All data sets were summarized in a standard format that facilitates ease
in understanding the data sets subject matter and intended use.
The following data sets were selected for inclusion in MEDS:
- ARIP- the USEPAs Accidental Release Information Program Data
- CalPip- The California Department of Pesticide Regulations California
Pesticide Information Portal
- CAQ- California Air Quality data collected by the California Air Resources
- CERCLIS- The USEPAs Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation,
and Liability Information System
- GEIMS- The Geographic Environmental Information Management System
of the California State Water Resources Control Board
- PUSE- The State of Californias Pesticide Use Summaries Data
- STORET- The USEPAs Storage and Retrieval Data base
- SSURGO- The USDAs Soil Survey Geographic Data base
- WTB/ULS- The Wireless Telecommunications Bureaus Universal Licensing
System Data base
Prioritize data sets to be studied based on community input, literature
review and knowledge of selected similar studies.
The data sets listed above were selected from among others that also included
Marin environmental data. Prioritization was based on criteria shaped
by community input, literature review, and knowledge of similar studies.
Train Marin Breast Cancer Watch personnel and targeted community members
and organizations in the basic concepts and applications of Geographic
Information Systems (GIS).
Marin Breast Cancer Watch sponsored a demonstration on the use of GIS,
a sophisticated computerized data base tool that can be used to store,
identify, analyze and understand patterns in environmental contamination,
the spread of disease and other health and environmental issues. The following
GIS map contains geographic data including elevation, slope, and soil
erosion trends in relation to toxic sites of interest within Marin County.
By identifying data sets with Marin-specific environmental data, the
MEDS pilot project facilitates the development of future research studies
designed to investigate the extent environmental factors, including environmental
exposures may be contributing to Marin Countys high rates of breast
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