PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire (NEWS CENTER) -- A newly formed state commission will look into any potential environmental causes for a rash of pediatric cases in the New Hampshire seacoast.
Last year a state investigation of five New Hampshire towns revealed higher than expected cases of rare cancers in children, known as a cancer cluster.
The probe is bringing new hope to families that a search for a potential cause for the cases will continue.
Lydia Valdez passed away from Rhabdomyosarcoma or RMS -- a soft tissue cancer after battling the disease for several years. Paula Skelly often comes to this memorial garden created in her daughter's honor at Little Harbor School where the 9-year old was a student.
The case is one of 5 confirmed cases from five different communities in the Seacoast classified as a cancer cluster. While tracking these cases -- investigators also found cases of pleuropulmonary blastoma or PPB -- cancer that occurs in the lungs. State. Rep. Mindi Messmer served on a state force investigating the cases and sponsored a bill to form a commission to continue the probe. She says members are looking at potential environmental factors, including the Coakley Landfill, a Superfund cleanup site located close to where the cases where reported.
'This is a public emergency in my opinion that we really need to put some effort into finding out ways to prevent one more case from happening. That would be worth the whole task force,' said Rep. Mindi Messmer a Democrat from Rye.
The commission will issue a full report this November.