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Reply #4: Let's take cancer clusters seriously this time [View All]

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-13-10 08:19 PM
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4. Let's take cancer clusters seriously this time
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19826535.300-comment-lets-take-cancer-clusters-seriously-this-time.html

Comment: Let's take cancer clusters seriously this time


* 26 April 2008 by Ian Fairlie
* Magazine issue 2653. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.

...

Studies in the 1980s revealed increased incidences of childhood leukaemia near nuclear installations at Windscale (now Sellafield), Burghfield and Dounreay in the UK. Later studies near German nuclear facilities found a similar effect. The official response was that the radiation doses from the nearby plants were too low to explain the increased leukaemia. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment, which is responsible for advising the UK government, finally concluded that the explanation remained unknown but was not likely to be radiation.

There the issue rested, until a recent flurry of epidemiological studies appeared. Last year, researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston carried out a meta-analysis of 17 research papers covering 136 nuclear sites in the UK, Canada, France, the US, Germany, Japan and Spain. The incidence of leukaemia in children under 9 living close to the sites showed an increase of 14 to 21 per cent, while death rates from the disease were raised by 5 to 24 per cent, depending on their proximity to the nuclear facilities (European Journal of Cancer Care, vol 16, p 355).

This was followed by a German study which found 14 cases of leukaemia compared to an expected four cases between 1990 and 2005 in children living within 5 kilometres of the Krmmel nuclear plant near Hamburg, making it the largest leukaemia cluster near a nuclear power plant anywhere in the world (Environmental Health Perspectives, vol 115, p 941).

...

If radiation is indeed the cause of the cancers, how might local residents have been exposed? Most of the reactors in the KiKK study were pressurised water designs notable for their high emissions of tritium, the radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Last year, the UK government published http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1197382221858">a report on tritium which concluded that its hazard risk should be doubled. Tritium is most commonly found incorporated into water molecules, a factor not fully taken into account in the report, so this could make it even more hazardous.

...
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