Study Links Childhood Cancer to NDMA Exposure

By Bevin P. Engelward

Director, MIT Superfund Research Program

The Olin Chemical Superfund Site in Wilmington, MA, contains high levels of NDMA, a probable human carcinogen that traveled nearly a mile underground, contaminating town wells that had been used by thousands of people. After the discovery of a childhood cancer cluster, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health did an epidemiological study, and the results show an association between exposure to NDMA in utero and cancer in children.

The MIT Superfund Research Program is actively engaged in being responsive to the affected community by performing relevant research and developing technologies to help address the public health impacts of NDMA. Recent research performed by the MIT team points to the possibility that the AAG DNA repair enzyme is a susceptibility factor for NDMA-induced cancer.