Investigation of Kidney Cancer in Merrimack, NH

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released analyzed data on cancer rates in Merrimack, NH. The analysis of data from the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry found a higher than expected number of people with kidney and renal cancers in Merrimack between 2009 and 2018 than would typically be observed in a town of similar size in NH.

Merrimack, NH and Surrounding Communities: Your Voice Matters!

NH DHHS is contracting with Dartmouth College on conducting a feasibility study in partnership with members of Merrimack, NH and surrounding communities.  

Feedback from both individuals with and without kidney cancer are needed to plan a successful study.

Consider providing feedback or learn more: 


Things to Know - Kidney & Renal Merrimack Investigation

Why is the release of the updated analysis important?

The analysis provides an update to the DHHS Report on Cancer in Merrimack that was published in 2018 in response to community concerns about cancer following detection of PFOA in the Merrimack Village District Public Water System. DHHS is releasing this analysis during a meeting today of the Commission on the Environmental and Public Health Impacts of Perfluorinated Chemicals, a legislative Commission formed in 2019 to study PFAS contamination in the town of Merrimack, and surrounding communities.

How will the data be used to support the investigation?

The data released today is one step in what will be a multi-step investigation with the residents of Merrimack and the NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) to better understand cancers in their community. Next steps include:

  • Gathering additional information from members of the community and subject matter experts; and
  • Convening meetings with Merrimack and other towns impacted by this data.


What conclusions can be made based on the data?

There is not sufficient information available at this time to draw any conclusions about the individuals who have kidney and renal cancer in Merrimack and any specific exposure. According to the American Cancer Society an excess number of cases of a particular cancer that looks significant based on statistics does not necessarily mean that the cancers are caused by something unique to that area. In order to determine next steps in the investigation staff from DHHS and DES will be working in coordination to leverage the resources and expertise of both agencies as we work to protect the health of people in Merrimack.

What are the next steps in the investigation?

DHHS will follow the Cancer Cluster Investigation Protocol to guide response to community concerns related to cancer. The DHHS protocol is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

What is kidney and renal cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the kidney, it is called kidney and renal pelvis cancer. It can also be called renal cell cancer as that is the most common type of kidney and renal pelvis cancer. Learn more about the symptoms of kidney and renal cancer and reducing risk from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.