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In 1979, International Business Machines spilled 3700 gallons of a volatile organic compound, trichloroethylene (TCE), beneath its facility in Endicott, NY. TCE is a known carcinogen and has been associated with elevated levels of hepatic cancer in previous toxicological studies. For these reasons, the researchers conducted a case-control study to determine if there was an elevated risk of hepatic cancer in Endicott preceding the spill. In addition to common practices employed in case-control studies, such as survey data collection, the researchers also employed multidisciplinary methods of data visualization to illustrate the relationship between the spill location and elevated hepatic cancer rates. The geographic relationship between the number of hepatic cancer cases and their locations relative to groundwater TCE concentrations indicates that there is a strong correlation between the presence of TCE and an increased incidence of hepatic cancer. This conclusion is further supported by cancer registry data, which depicts Endicott as having a higher incidence of hepatic cancer than Broome County and New York State.



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Examination of Hepatic Cancer Rates in Varying Trichloroethylene Concentrations in the Contamination Zone of the IBM-Endicott Chemical Spill