The term disease cluster is used by the Centers for Disease Control when discussing a group of people in a small area that experiences adverse health events in a short amount of time. Some years ago, lawmakers were pressured to pass a law that requires such clusters to be made official and documented by medical professionals.
What is a Disease Cluster?
A disease cluster is a sign that contamination of the environment is present. Pollutants or environmental issues have impacted the health and safety of the public in some way and often renders people with injuries to their immune system and sicknesses that they otherwise would not have had.
Introduced in early 2011 by Senator Barbara Boxer of California, the bill was able to move forward into the United States Senate by the end of 2015 with the help of co-sponsor Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho. The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2016. The goal of the bill is to increase the coordination of federal agencies as well as create transparency and accountability between such agencies as they review cases of disease clusters in the US. The cluster will be investigated and documented, helping to protect individuals in the present day as well as generations into the future, working to find a connection between a disease cluster and environmental hazards.
The law we are discussing is titled The Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities from Disease Clusters Act. In short, the law is known as Trevor’s Law due to an individual named Trevor Schaefer. Trevor was a 21-year-old from Idaho who was able to beat brain cancer after first being diagnosed at the age of 13. After overcoming the disease, a foundation was created by Trevor and his family to help see disease clusters investigated. The foundation is known as Trevor’s Trek Foundation. The family took part in a US Senate hearing featured in the film Erin Brockovich, where the subject was discussed. Mrs. Brockovich commented that Trevor’s law is very important and his work has led to greater exposure to something that she has been working on for years.
Disease Clusters in the US
In the past, a disease cluster was a rare occurrence. Today, they are more common. Information provided by the National Disease Clusters Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council has found that in 2011, there was a minimum of 42 disease clusters in existence in 13 states. Those affected were afflicted by cancer, chronic illness or birth defects.
Have You Been Affected by a Disease Cluster?
If you or someone you love has developed an injury or illness based on such contamination, do not hesitate to contact Cueria Law Firm. We are based in New Orleans and focus on personal injury. We are happy to review your situation and help you build a case.