School administrators in Orleans County are worried about multiple incidents of breast cancer among Albion Elementary School teachers.
The superintendent issued a letter to parents Wednesday discussing the problem (see below).
He says nearly 20 staff members were diagnosed with the disease over the course of 15 years.
The district consulted a doctor who says that number amounts to about five percent of the women employed at the school during that time period.
The national average for breast cancer incidents is about 12.5 percent, he noted.
The school district physician said that while there is interest into whether certain environmental factors might have contributed to these illnesses, including some types of plastics, personal care items and pesticides, current research from the American Cancer Society "does not show a clear link between breast cancer risk and exposure to these substances."
The superintendent shared this data with the county and state health departments as well as experts at Cornell University and is waiting for their response.
Spectrum News reached out the state Department of Health and received a statement, saying in part:
"The department is aware of the concerns raised by staff, and has offered to review information about the cases, however sufficient information needed to address the situation has not yet been submitted."