LOMPOC VALLEY: Study Shows Higher Hospitalization Rates
A draft of a new state health study shows "that hospitalizations for certain illnesses are significantly high in Lompoc," but area residents says that this "tells only part of the story." The Santa Barbara News Press reports that the study "looked only at readily available data, including cancer rates, birth outcomes and hospitalization studies," while excluding patient office or clinic visits. "The study found that lung and bronchus cancers were 37% higher than expected in Lompoc residents," while "[h]ospitalizations for asthma were 58% higher ... and 69% higher for bronchitis." In addition, "[h]ospitalizations of infants with respiratory disease were more than two times as high." State scientist Richard Ames noted that high hospitalization rates were not found for other communities near Lompoc. "By and large, Lompoc is unique in having elevated hospital discharges." The study was conducted by the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, at the request of the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Ames said the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment was not asked to look for reasons behind the high level of hospitalizations. One Lompoc resident present at the study's unveiling suggested that officials "look at factors other than pesticides," including rocket launches and the mining industry. The scientists who conducted the study have recommended follow-up work to the Lompoc Interagency Work Group, which is composed of representatives of federal, state and local governments (Finucane, 1/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.