The epidemiological study conducted by Public Health France (SpF) on group cases of pediatric cancers in the Sainte-Pazanne sector (Loire-Atlantique), near Nantes, failed to identify a common cause and will be stopped, announced Tuesday the Regional Agency of Health (ARS) Pays de la Loire.
The epidemiological analysis, whose results were presented Monday to the families, "validates the fact that the number of pediatric cancers on the sector of the 7 communes (studied, ed) on the period 2015-2019 is greater than what the we observe on average in France ".
However, the epidemiological questionnaire sent to 13 affected families did not identify a "risk factor common to children, already documented in the scientific literature".
The living conditions of the mother before, during and after the pregnancy, the father's life, the children's eating habits, etc., have been examined in particular.
"The results of this work lead Public Health France to conclude the presence of a spatio-temporal cluster without common cause identified," said the statement.
The health agency therefore recommends "not to continue epidemiological investigations locally" and "not to undertake additional environmental investigations and sampling".
SpF, however, proposes to "put in place active surveillance to identify any new cancer cases in the sector".
"There is a higher concentration of cases but we stop the epidemiological study, it is inadmissible, unacceptable and intolerable", denounced Marie Thibaud, member of the collective "Stop cancer of our children", which lists 20 cases of cancers and four children who died in the Sainte-Pazanne sector between 2015 and 2019.
"We are told that there is not one factor common to all families, but there are actually several factors common to many families, 30 years ago we were looking for a common cause of diseases, such as Asbestos Today, we must review the methodology and make environmental sampling to understand the effects + cocktail + of the environment on health, "she adds.
Regarding housing built on the former site Leduc where were manufactured of frames, the analyzes of the Dreal (Regional Directorate of the Environment, the development and the housing) "discard the existence of a health risk for the inhabitants of these dwellings ". Additional analyzes will however be conducted.
Environmental measures are also planned in 17 housing units for children with cancer by the end of January 2020 as well as a second campaign of "removal of doubt" in the Notre-Dame de Lourdes school in Sainte-Pazanne. .
"This is only to look at whether there is an immediate mortal danger for our children at home or at school, they are not real environmental studies," criticized Marie Thibaud.
In the release, SpF acknowledges that scientific knowledge "on the causes of childhood cancer and the potential role of environmental exposures in this process remain fragmented".
"Basic research (…) should allow in the future to enrich knowledge and improve the investigation tools available to answer the questions of the population," she said.
A public meeting is scheduled for November 25 in the town hall of Sainte-Pazanne.