Cancer experts to investigate rare leukaemia outbreak in Camelford

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The Independent Online
Cancer experts are to investigate a rare leukaemia cluster in Camelford in Cornwall where eight years ago water supplies to 20,000 people were contaminated by 20 tons of aluminium sulphate at a water-treatment centre. Members of the local community blame the contamination for three children developing leukaemia. A boy, 14, died in January, and a girl, 13, and a 14-year-old boy are receiving chemotherapy treatment for the disease. They were all in the same class at St James Smith's Secondary School.

The Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health Authority last month promised an independent inquiry into the cases, and four leading scientists attended a meeting yesterday with 100 parents, pupils and staff to report on their preliminary inquiries. Professor Ray Cartwright, director of the Leukaemia Research Fund and Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford University, who is leading the specialist team, warned yesterday that investigations into clusters often failed to provide satisfactory explanations.