Bellarine Peninsula cancer cluster concerns

Friday, 26 April 2019

Senate Community Affairs References Committee: Investigations into a possible cancer cluster on the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria

The first public hearing for the senate inquiry into a possible cancer cluster on the Bellarine Peninsula was held on Friday 1 May 2020. The focus of the hearing was to receive evidence from health organisations and local and state governments. Cancer Council Victoria, Gordon Legal, Discovery 3227, the Department of Health’s Expert Advisory Group on potential cancer clusters, City of Greater Geelong, and the Victorian Chief Health Officer presented to the inquiry and took questions from the committee.

Following the Senate committee’s public hearing in May 2020, the Department of Health requested Cancer Council Victoria to extend their October 2019 epidemiological analysis of cancer rates in the Barwon Heads area to include data from the early 1980s to current.

The Chief Health Officer sought a review by the independent Expert Advisory Group on Cancer Council Victoria’s extended epidemiological analysis.

The Senate Committee released the final report and recommendations on 30 June 2021.

In response to community concerns about a suggested cancer cluster on the Bellarine Peninsula, the Chief Health Officer conducted an assessment of available epidemiological data.

The assessment found no evidence of higher rates of cancer assessed in any geographical areas within the Bellarine Peninsula.

Initial concerns were related to the historical use of dieldrin in soil, however dieldrin has not been identified as an agent that results in the cancers cited in the media.

Subsequent concerns were expressed suggesting a link between public mosquito treatment and various cancers and immunological diseases. This suggestion has no scientific basis and the City is not aware of any evidence to support the claim.

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Page last updated: Friday, 2 July 2021