Leaders of this community - six miles from Rutherford where an unusual cluster of cancer cases was found - said yesterday that they are investigating a report that 14 residents in a five-block area died of cancer within recent years.
"The local Board of Health will work at full speed to complete a total investigation," Mayor Robert Pallotta said. State officials also have been asked to examine the report.
The 14 cancer deaths were reported by the Palisades Park Environmental Action Committee, a private study group.
"The Rutherford Cluster led us to look into our own area," the committee's report said. "We have collected the names and addresses of our own cluster of cancer victims in the area . . . We are only touching the tip of the iceberg."
The report, which did not disclose the names, ages or addresses of victims or say over how long a period the deaths were spaced, was compiled after a door-to-door survey of one neighborhood in this community of 13,000.
The state Department of Health last month confirmed the existence of 32 cases of leukemia and related blood cancers in nearby Rutherford, a borough of 20,000. Air, soil and water samples taken from the vicinity of the Pierrepont Elementary School, where the Rutherford cluster was centered, failed to reveal the presence of benzene or other chemicals known to cause cancer. The tests are continuing.