Churchill County, Nevada -- Leukemia Investigation
Recent Press Accounts

July 06, 2004 – Doctor to study cancer in FallonResearch on cluster to focus on genetics LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- An Arkansas doctor is hoping a study of genetic factors reveals the cause of a cancer cluster in Fallon that has sickened 16 children with leukemia since 2000, killing three – By CARYN ROUSSEAU – AP

February 12, 2003 -- Fed report finds no environmental link to Fallon leukemia cluster -- FALLON, Nev. (AP) - An investigation by the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry into possible contaminant "pathways" found no environmental link to a childhood leukemia cluster in this northern Nevada town.

February 07, 2003 -- Scientists say tungsten a promising clue to leukemia cluster -- FALLON — Federal scientists said Thursday that tests on 205 residents suggest no links between environmental pollution and the town’s leukemia cluster but have revealed tungsten as the most promising clue - Reno Gazette Journal  ( More Coverage - AP )

February 05, 2003 -- No pollution controls in tungsten plant -- FALLON — A company smelted tungsten ore in an open air kiln without pollution controls for more than 20 years 10 miles north of this town, where scientists say the metal may be related to a leukemia cluster.  

February 03, 2003 -- Scientist says tests show tungsten `alters` leukemia cells -- An Arizona scientist said laboratory tests show tungsten “alters” the growth of leukemia cells — a key finding for Fallon where a childhood leukemia cluster investigation has uncovered high levels of the metal in residents and drinking water -- Reno Gazette Journal.

January 20, 2003 -- Area tap water tests show wide variation -- Tests of tap water from five northern Nevada water utilities show heavy metals are at levels well beneath federal health standards, but in Reno-Sparks and Carson City some results showed a wide variation in readings from tap to tap -- Reno Gazette Journal

January 19, 2003 -- Tungsten levels highest in Fallon -- Local drinking water tests show levels well below those in desert town -- Drinking water samples from five communities within 60 miles of Fallon contained a fraction of the levels of tungsten found last year in Fallon’s municipal water supply, according to tests commissioned by the Reno Gazette-Journal.  Fallon is the site of a leukemia cluster of 16 children, three of whom have died since the cluster was identified in 2000. An ongoing federal investigation into the outbreak so far has revealed high levels of tungsten in drinking water there -- By Frank X. Mullen Jr. -- Reno Gazette Journal

January 18, 2003 -- Nevada tungsten levels probed -- Federal scientists will test Lovelock and Pahrump for tungsten levels to compare with high rates of the metal found in Fallon, where 16 children have been stricken with leukemia, officials said Friday - Reno Gazette Journal

January 08, 2003 -- CDC to announce results of Fallon cancer probe -- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to announce the results of its Fallon leukemia cluster investigation Feb. 6, health officials said Tuesday -- Reno Gazette Journal.

January 04, 2003 -- State, health activitists at odds over cancer survey -- The Fallon area has unexpectedly high rates of brain cancer, lymphomas, and adult leukemia, in addition to its childhood leukemia cluster, according to the organizer of a cancer incidence survey whose results were released last week - Reno Gazette Jouranl  (Related Story)

December 31, 2002 -- Fallon father's survey confirms cancer fears -- But state health officials doubt data from parent whose daughter died of leukemia -- A door-to-door survey in Fallon has confirmed what some of the Northern Nevada city's residents have suspected all along, said the man who conducted the survey: There's too much cancer there -- Las Vegas Review Jouranl

December 17, 2002 -- Fallon tungsten levels to be examined -- Cancer cluster investigators to seek two other cities to compare with town's high readings -- Federal cancer cluster investigators will be in Nevada early next month to help state officials find two communities they can compare with Fallon, the site of an outbreak of childhood leukemia cases -- Las Vegas Review Journal

November 25, 2002 -- Rarer form of childhood cancer pops up in Fallon leukemia cluster -- An investigation into the Fallon leukemia cluster has uncovered cases of an even rarer childhood cancer in Fallon and in three other small towns with unexplained leukemia spikes -- Reno Gazette Journal

November 17, 2002 -- Focus on FALLON: Cancer cluster confounds experts -- Frustrated families of leukemia sufferers look everywhere for answers -- Las Vegas Review Journal  Fallon Location Map

November 14, 2002 -- Fallon cancer cluster study to be released in February -- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the results of an environmental study of the Fallon childhood leukemia cluster are slated to be announced in early February.  The assessment was scheduled to be released this fall, but a national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals won’t be ready until January, CDC experts said - Reno Gazette Journal

November 05, 2002 -- Tungsten found in Fallon tap water -- Federal scientists have found varying levels of tungsten in tap water collected from 76 Fallon homes, suggesting drinking water may be the source of high amounts found in many Fallon residents. . . . The USGS found concentrations of tungsten ranging from 0.25 to 337 parts per billion in the tap water samples - Reno Gazette Journal

November 03, 2002 -- $7 million to help Fallon treat water -- State loan, grant to target high arsenic levels -- Gov. Kenny Guinn said Friday that nearly $7 million in loans and grants have been approved by the state to help the city of Fallon meet federal arsenic level standards in its water supply.  A $2 million loan and a $4.7 million grant have been awarded to the city to help build a water treatment facility -- Las Vegas Review Journal

October 23, 2002 -- Navy secretary promises cooperation in Nevada leukemia probe -- CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Navy Secretary Gordon England said Wednesday the Navy will cooperate fully with the state in a probe of a leukemia epidemic in a small northern Nevada town that's home to a major pilot training base.

October 17, 2002 -- Tree rings studied in cancer investigation -- FALLON — Two University of Arizona professors investigating leukemia clusters in their home state and in Fallon took tree ring samples on Wednesday in northern Nevada to determine whether high tungsten levels in the environment around Fallon are normal or unusual -- Reno Gazette Journal  (Related Story)

October 15, 2002 -- Fallon cancer survey reaches several hundred homes -- FALLON — Volunteers canvassed several hundred homes Monday evening in an attempt to determine the cancer burden on this town where 16 children have been diagnosed with leukemia since 1997 and three have died -- Reno Gazette Journal

October 13, 2002 -- Volunteers ready to document Fallon cluster -- Door-to-door survey begins today -- Volunteers are scheduled to meet in Fallon this afternoon to begin a cancer survey of more than 3,000 households that they hope will help determine the cause of the town’s leukemia cluster of 16 children, three of whom have died -- Reno Gazette Journal  (Related Story)  (Press history)

October 06, 2002 -- Father of Fallon leukemia cluster victim to conduct cancer survey -- FALLON, Nev. (AP) - The father of a Fallon childhood leukemia cluster victim will soon launch a door-to-door survey here to try to determine whether a higher-than-normal cancer rate exists.

September 17, 2002 -- Tests find tungsten in Fallon water supply -- New tests show Fallon’s water supply contains tungsten, a metal also found in 80 percent of residents examined as part of the investigation into the town’s leukemia cluster of 16 children, officials said Tuesday.  Scientists hired by Fallon said the levels in municipal wells were expected and were comparatively low, between 32 and 24 parts per billion -- Reno Gazette Journal

September 14, 2002 -- Officials order Fallon soil tests -- State environmental officials ordered tests Thursday on soil samples taken from a spot in Fallon where utility workers reported petroleum smells near a jet fuel pipeline, a suspect in the town’s childhood leukemia cluster.  The utility firm and the pipeline company also collected soil and ground water samples. The father of a deceased leukemia patient also plans to have soil samples taken in the area -- Reno Gazette Journal  (Related Story)

August 25, 2002 -- Leukemia ties Fallon with town in Arizona -- SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. — This small town in the Sonoran desert has a lot in common with Fallon, a tiny berg in the Nevada desert, but the most compelling similarity is that both communities have a childhood leukemia cluster.  Both are located in a wide, beautiful bowl of mountains -- Reno Gazette Journal
More Coverage -- Gazette-Journal Archives
More Coverage -- Gazette-Journal archives:

August 23, 2002 -- CDC testing for tungsten exposure -- High levels of metal found in Fallon families during investigation of area leukemia cluster -- CARSON CITY -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will move quickly to test people in other parts of the country for exposure to tungsten to try to determine whether there are any ill health effects from the naturally-occurring metal, an agency researcher said Thursday - Las Vegas Review Journal

August 21, 2002 -- Tungsten found in Fallon tests -- No data linking metal to leukemia, but questions remain -- FALLON — Federal health officials said Tuesday that urine tests on leukemia patient families and Fallon control group families showed high levels of the metal tungsten in the bodies of both groups -- Reno Gazette Journal

August 20, 2002 -- Health officials to reveal substance in Fallon blood tests today -- State and federal health officials and others close to the Fallon leukemia cluster probe said Monday that Fallon residents whose blood samples were studied had a substance in their bodies found at higher levels than in the general population.  The officials won’t reveal what the substance is, except to say it’s not a recognized carcinogen and still requires further evaluation to determine if it’s linked to the cancer epidemic or is otherwise potentially harmful - Reno Gazette Journal

August 15, 2002 -- Fallon families join forces on cancer research -- FALLON — Dissatisfied with the progress of the state and federal investigation into this town’s childhood leukemia cluster, families of some patients said Thursday they have formed a group to conduct research and find the cause of the cancer epidemic.  “The Nevada Division of Health and the other state and federal agencies seem to be afraid of what they might find,” said Brenda Gross of Fallon, whose son, Dustin, 6, has recovered from leukemia -- Reno Gazette Journal

August 13, 2002 -- Third fatality reported in Fallon cluster -- A 22-year-old man is the third fatality in a 16-patient leukemia cluster in Fallon that scientists have been unable to explain.  State health officials said the young man died Sunday in a California hospital. They said the man, who lived out of state, is considered an “associated” case in the cluster because he hadn’t lived in Fallon since 1982. They said eleven of the 16 are “direct” cases because they lived in Fallon after 1982.   The identity of man who died this week wasn’t released by state officials.   Sixteen people who were 20 or younger when diagnosed with the disease have been linked to the cancer cluster since 1997. Stephanie Sands, 21, and Adam Jernee, 10, died last year -- Reno Gazette Journal

August 08, 2002 -- New details on latest leukemia victim in northern Nevada -- The 16th victim of a baffling leukemia epidemic in northern Nevada is a 2 1/2-year-old boy in a military family once stationed at the Fallon Naval Air Station, officials said Friday.  The state Health Division, in releasing new details of the case first confirmed July 28, also said the boy’s family lived in Navy base housing while in Fallon.   The family will be interviewed as part of an ongoing probe into the Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia cluster, state Epidemiologist Randall Todd said, adding that results of testing by federal agencies should be released in late summer or early fall.  Health officials have said that given an average rate of about three childhood cases per 100,000 children, they’d normally expect to see about one case every five years in the Fallon area, which has a population of 26,000.  Of the confirmed childhood leukemia victims linked to Fallon since 1997, two have died. Adam Jernee, 10, and Stephanie Sands, 21, died in 2001 -- AP.

May 30, 2002 -- Fallon pipline, drinking water OK'd by feds -- FALLON -- Two federal agencies investigating this town’s childhood leukemia cluster gave clean bills of health Wednesday to the Fallon jet fuel pipeline and said there are no chemicals or fuels in Churchill County’s drinking water -- by Frank X. Mullen Jr., Reno Gazette Journal

May 10, 2002 -- Transcript of the broadcast show "NOW" with Bill Moyers -- The Public Television show explored the Fallon cancer cluster.

May 03, 2002 -- Doctor files lawsuit in Fallon case -- RENO -- A doctor who criticized the investigation into a childhood cancer cluster in Fallon has sued to force fuel companies, the Navy and the city to pay for leukemia screening for children with ties to the Nevada town.

April 26, 2002 -- NEVADA FOCUS: Leukemia children winning their battling with disease -- FALLON, Nev. (AP) - At Sunshine Child Care and Learning Center, where a dozen kids can be seen each day running around and playing, 5-year-old Sareynah Rivers blends in with the bunch.  Few would guess that the spunky, dark-haired youngster, who runs, jumps and laughs on the playground is the same pale little girl who underwent two years of chemotherapy for acute lymphocytic leukemia.

April 04, 2002 -- Leukemia clusters targeted -- FALLON - The Desert Research Institute in Reno and an Arizona scientist want to team up to investigate the possible causes of similar childhood leukemia clusters in Fallon and Sierra Vista, Ariz., DRI officials said Tuesday -- Frank X. Mullen Jr. Reno Gazette Journal

April 03, 2002 -- Official updates Fallon leukemia cluster -- Residents get progress report on federal efforts to investigate the rash of cases in the area -- FALLON -- A state health researcher said Tuesday that he expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to announce this summer the results of its investigation into a cancer cluster here.  Dr. Randall Todd warned residents that the investigation might not pinpoint why 15 Fallon children have contracted leukemia since 1997. Two of the children have died - Las Vegas Review Journal

April 02, 2002 -- Sen. Reid delivers update on Fallon leukemia cluster -- FALLON, Nev. (AP) - A year after a Senate committee held hearings on cancer clusters, Sen. Harry Reid gave a progress report Tuesday on federal efforts to improve public health and to investigate the rash of leukemia cases in the Fallon area.  Reid said he has secured nearly $28 million in federal funding for public health projects in Fallon and has helped introduce the Nationwide Health Tracking Act to expand the ability to investigate cancer clusters.  (More Coverage - Reno Gazette Journal)

March 07, 2002 -- Bill would set up disease tracking system -- Reid, Hillary Clinton behind effort to solve health mysteries such as Fallon leukemia cluster -- WASHINGTON -- Is contaminated water causing leukemia in Fallon children? And if so, where is it coming from? Scientists still don't know, but two U.S. senators want to create a national health tracking network to get to the bottom of this and many other health mysteries -- Las Vegas Review Journal

February 12, 2002 -- Arizona’s bad luck helps Nevada -- Arizona’s misfortune may help Fallon families in the search for answers. Word this week that Arizona health officials officially classified a group of childhood cancer ... Reno Gazette-Journal

February 10, 2002 -- Daring to hope: -- A Nevada town's heartache may help solve the puzzle of childhood leukemia -- FALLON, Nev. -- For residents of this farm and military community 60 miles east of Reno, it is leukemia's random walk through town that is the most terrifying - By Tom Knudson -- Sacramento Bee

February 08, 2002 -- Arizona town has cancer cluster similar to Fallon
An outbreak of childhood leukemia in a southern Arizona town now numbers seven cases, making it an official cancer cluster like the one in Fallon, ... Reno Gazette-Journal

February 05, 2002 -- Number of military students in Fallon schools declines -- Churchill County school officials are wondering whether a childhood leukemia cluster in the Fallon area is to blame for a drop in the number of ...Reno Gazette-Journal

February 04, 2002 -- Fallon cancer panel to meet Western Nevada Community College in connection with a Churchill County support group is sponsoring a lecture/panel discussion about the Fallon leukemia cluster today at 7 ...Reno Gazette-Journal

February 01, 2002 -- Another leukemia case added to Fallon cluster -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is adding a 15th case of childhood leukemia to its investigation of the puzzling outbreak of cases in ... Reno Gazette-Journal

February 01, 2002 -- Investigators include another Fallon cancer case -- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will include a 15th case of childhood leukemia in its investigation of the Fallon cancer cluster, state ... Reno Gazette-Journal

January 28, 2002 -- Researcher trying to link jet fuel with cancer clusters -- An Arizona researcher said he plans to investigate whether the Fallon childhood leukemia cluster can be tied to four other possible cancer outbreaks near military bases in Arizona and California -- -- Reno Gazette-Journal


October 01. 2001 -- Researchers chase a mysterious foe -- While investigators search for a cause of the Fallon childhood leukemia cluster, the possibilities range from man-made to environmental. But experts agree that 14 cases in five years probably isn’t a coincidence -- Reno Gazette-Journal.

September 29, 2001 -- DNA may hold key to Fallon cancer cluster -- FALLON — A group of independent doctors is criticizing the state’s handling of the probe of 14 childhood leukemia cases in this farming and military town, saying DNA testing could quickly narrow the cause to military jet fuel or other environmental factors - -- Reno Gazette-Journal

June 02, 2001 -- State officials pledge survey of jet fuel pipeline -- State environmental workers next week plan to inspect the jet-fuel pipeline that runs through Fallon to help determine whether it is tied to a childhood leukemia cluster there, state officials said Friday -- Reno Gazette-Journal

January 24, 2001 -- Parents search for answers in Fallon leukemia cluster -- FALLON -- When Floyd Sands’ daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in 1999, he said it was as though an atomic bomb had exploded just outside his window.  It’s a devastating feeling, he said.  It’s a chilling diagnosis -- Reno Gazette-Journal

January 24, 2001 -- State lists findings on Fallon leukemia cases -- Here’s what State Health Division officials have said about the 11 leukemia cases in the Fallon area -- Reno Gazette-Journal

January 24, 2001 -- Navy says jet fuel not linked to leukemia -- FALLON — The commander of the Fallon Naval Air Station said there’s no way jet fuel spills or dumping from fighter jets can be linked to Fallon’s apparent leukemia cluster - Reno Gazette-Journal