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No Unusual Cancer Risk Found at Meadowlands

Associated Press

Workers at the Meadowlands sports complex have no greater risk of contracting cancer than anyone who lives or works in other urban areas of New Jersey, a medical team said in a report released Friday.

“We found absolutely no increase--real or imagined--in cancer in general or in any specific cancer,” said Paul Lioy, a member of the study team and an expert in measuring exposure to environmental conditions.

The $225,000 study, paid for by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, initially analyzed a relatively high number of cancer cases among members of the New York Giants, who play football at Giants Stadium in the sports complex.

Those results, released in September, found no apparent connection between the cancers developed by four players and environmental conditions at the stadium.

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Robert E. Mulcahy III, chief executive officer of the sports authority, said the second phase of the study focused on past and present employees at the complex. The medical team was instructed to spend as much time as necessary to ensure the integrity of the report.

“My directive to them was to do whatever is necessary in their expert opinions to do a fair study,” Mulcahy said. “Of more concern to me was to look at our employees and determine if there was any hazard to them, because after all, they work here 12 months a year.”

Four cases of cancer among Giant players prompted fears that the environment of the sports complex was responsible. The 750-acre complex is built near hazardous waste sites, polluted marshes and landfills.

The safety of the complex came under scrutiny when Giant tackle Karl Nelson was diagnosed in August 1987 with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of cancer in the lymph glands.

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Linebacker Dan Lloyd was found to have a malignant lymphoma in 1980, running back Doug Kotar, 29, died of an inoperable brain tumor in 1983, and running back John Tuggle, 23, died of a rare blood-vessel cancer in 1986.

Lloyd’s disease is in remission, and he is a football coach in California. Nelson returned last season and played two games before going on the injured reserve list with a sprained ankle.

Nelson announced last winter that he suffered a recurrence of his cancer. He completed his scheduled chemotherapy treatments Thursday and will join the Giants as an offensive line coach when training camp opens July 24.

Experts measured air samples taken from the complex and nearby areas. They also analyzed electromagnetic radio waves emitted from 15 AM radio antennas within eight miles of the complex to determine what effect, if any, the signals would have on workers.

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While high, the radiation from the radio towers was just below standards set for people who normally work near such facilities, the study said.


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