Oregon Health Authority officials have changed their minds: they’ve decided to share statewide cancer data with the parents of West Salem children who’ve contracted a rare form of bone cancer, and then make the data publicly available. Osteosarcoma has struck at least five children in four Salem census districts between 2008 and 2012.
An analysis of just those districts showed a higher-than-expected incidence of the cancer, prompting Salem State Representative Vicki Berger to request an analysis of statewide data. Initially, OHA said the data analysis fell under the federal medical privacy laws known as HIPAA and refused to release it.
So far, investigations by both OHA and the federal Environmental Protection Agency have not found any environmental causation for the cancers.