United States Senator Arlen Specter has been recognized by the Tri-County Polycythemia Vera (PV) Community Action Committee (CAC) and the Borough of Tamaqua for his efforts in securing $8 million dollars in federal funds to battle the rare blood disease.

On Monday, Tamaqua Mayor Christian Morrison read a proclamation acknowledging the diligent work of Senator Specter. The CAC passed an unanimous resolution honoring Specter's efforts at its June 30 meeting.

Polycythemia vera is a blood disorder in which too many red blood cells are produced. A cluster of polycythemia vera has been discovered in the Still Creek area of Schuylkill County, and statistics of incidents in the tri-county area of Schuylkill, Luzerne and Carbon Counties has been discovered to be higher than the national average. The cluster was confirmed by the federal ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) and the Center for Disease Control.

The Polycythemia Vera Action Committee consists of residents from the three counties concerned about or afflicted with the blood cancer. The federal funding is currently allowing the CAC to oversee a series of studies to aid in determining potential causes of PV and related cancers in the area.

In addition, the funding has enabled previous and upcoming environmental and local health studies.

Specter obtained an initial Congressional authorization of $5.5 million to conduct a series of studies aimed at determing the causes of PV and related Myeloproliferative Neoplasms for the region. He also obtained supplemental funding of $2.5 million to conduct additional studies and took important actions to ensure that the supplemental funding was retained for its intended use.

"Be it, therefore, resolved that the CAC commends and thanks Senator Arlen Specter for his strong efforts on behalf of our community and the health of its citizens and names Senator Specter as an honorary member of the CAC," read the CAC resolution.