BUTTE, Mont. -

In a public meeting Monday Butte-Silver Bow health officials announced they will conduct a study to try and determine whether pollution is leading to higher rates of disease and if cleanup of the Superfund site is working.

The announcement comes in response to a doctoral student's dissertation linking disease to pollution in the Butte area.

Butte health officials want more evidence and said more data needs to be analyzed.

"We?ll try to design an additional study that'll be unbiased that will show whether or not the cleanup efforts that have been taking place for the last thirty years or whatever it's been have been effective or do we need to change in some way," Director of the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department Terri Hocking said.

About 18 community members attended the 10 a.m. meeting and several said they want more information and studies done.

Health department officials and health experts agreed the doctoral student?s research is a good starting point they pinpointed issues with study and focused on what they might change if they did a study of their own.

Hocking said the health department is determining the best methods to conduct its own study including the number of people diagnosed with diseases versus the people who die from those diseases.

She said this will make data more clear on just incidences there are in the community.

"There's too many factors over a period of time to say that this caused this and that caused that and you're never going to be able to, but it does give us direction on where to look," Hocking said.

Also, the study will focus it?s testing on arsenic and lead, because the two metals are the most highly concentrated in the area and have the highest impacts on health.

Mercury being a third, but not as common in the area.

Hocking believes the health department will have a plan for the study in place by July.