The State : Cancer Cases Trigger Study

An unusually high rate of cancer victims has prompted Marin County supervisors to declare a health emergency in the rustic town of Fairfax and to call for an $18,000 special census study. There were 364 reported cancer cases in the small community between 1975 and 1985, 20% more than the rest of the county and 25% more than the statewide average, officials said. "There is no apparent reason for it," City Administrator Charles Cate said at a meeting of the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The census will determine if the actual population is larger than the 1980 U.S. Census figure of 8,500, which would prove that the high cancer rate is statistically significant.

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