CONCORDIA PARISH HEALTH OUTCOME DATA REVIEW
VIDALIA, CONCORDIA PARISH, LOUISIANA
In December 1997, the Concordia Parish Police Jury adopted a resolution that requested a "cancer research study be done in Concordia Parish to find out if there is something in the environment that could be generating so much cancer in this location" (see Appendix A). This resolution was sent to the state and federal legislators, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals.
Concordia is a small parish located in the central-eastern part of Louisiana. See Appendix B for a map showing the location of Concordia Parish and other basic facts about the area. The Police Jury is the governing body for the parish (or county).
The resolution cited two reasons for the request. One reason was that Concordia Parish has a high rate of cancer victims. No reference was given. The second reason listed was that the Louisiana Office of Public Health named cancer as the second leading cause of death in this Parish. This second reason was taken from the 1995 Concordia Parish Health Profile1. No specific environmental hazard nor concern was named in the resolution or mentioned in the conversations between parish representatives and Office of Public Health employees.
The Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology within the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals/Office of Public Health reviewed the cancer incidence data for Concordia Parish as collected by the Louisiana Tumor Registry. Cancer incidence (occurrence of cancer) was reviewed because cancer mortality (death) rates are affected by how advanced the cancer was at the time of diagnosis, access to health care, and other factors not related to environmental exposure.
The review of cancer incidence data was presented to the Concordia Police Jury on April 13, 1998, by Louisiana Office of Public Health staff. Age-adjusted cancer incidence rates from 1988-1992 for Concordia Parish and the state of Louisiana were compared (see Appendix C). For all types (or sites) of cancer combined, the Concordia Parish rate was lower than the state rates. This information was well received by the Police Jury and elicited no further questions or requests.
The fact that cancer was the second leading cause of death in Concordia Parish is not surprising. Cancer is also the second leading cause of death in Louisiana and the United States (heart disease is number one)1. And because cancer mortality rates are affected by how advanced the cancer was at the time of diagnosis, access to health care, and other factors not related to environmental exposure; these rates are not the best indicator of possible environmental hazards.
The review of cancer incidence data for Concordia Parish revealed rates similar to or lower than the state rates. From this information, there is no indication of an increase in cancer in Concordia Parish from environmental exposures.
- This Health Consultation should be sent to all interested parties that were originally contacted by the Police Jury regarding their cancer concerns.
- Since the results of the cancer incidence review has already been presented to the Police Jury, no other action is recommended.
- Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health, 1995 Concordia Parish Health Profile. A Tool for Community Health Planning, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 1995.
Barbara Cooper, MSPH
Kabrina Smith, MS
Frank Welch, MD MSPH
Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology
Louisiana Dept. of Health & Hospitals/Office of Public Health
ATSDR Regional Representative
ATSDR Region VI
ATSDR Technical Project Officer
ATSDR Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
The Concordia Parish Health Outcome Data Review, Vidalia, Concordia Parish, Louisiana Health Consultation was prepared by the Louisiana Office of Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the Health Consultation was initiated.
Technical Project Officer, SPS, SSAB, DHAC
The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this Health Consultation and concurs with its findings.
Chief, SPS, SSAB, DHAC, ATSDR