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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