by Dr Helen Caldicott
hat tip: www.globalresearch.ca
October 14, 2009
Jennifer Nordstrom, co-ordinator of the Carbon-Free Nuclear-Free project has noted “Telling states to build new nuclear plants to combat global warming is like telling a patient to smoke to lose weight.”
A recent study sponsored by the German government (the KiKK study – Kaatsch P, Spix C, Schultze-Rath R, et al. Leukemia in young children living in the vicinity of German nuclear power plants. Int J Cancer. 2008; 1220:721-726,) examined children who lived near 16 of the country’s commercial nuclear power plants. The results revealed a strongly increased risk of all childhood cancers, particularly leukaemia, the closer the proximity of the children’s residence to the reactor. In particular, the study found that children less than the age five years, living within a 5km radius of the power plant exhaust stacks were more than twice as likely to develop leukaemia compared with those children residing more that 5km away. The KiKK team studied other carcinogenic factors which may be responsible for the cancer clusters but none were found.
Another large study (Baker PJ, Hoel DG. Meta-analysis of standardized incidence and mortality rates of childhood leukemia in proximity to nuclear facilities. Eur J Cancer Care. 2007:16:355-363) – a meta-analysis of the incidence and mortality rates of childhood leukemia in children living near 138 nuclear facilities in Britain, Canada, Spain, Germany, the US and Japan also demonstrated a statistically significant rate of leukemia in children less than nine years of age.
A further large review (Laurier D, Jacob S, Bernier MO, et al. Epidemiological studies of leukemia in children and young adults around nuclear facilities: A critical review. Rad Prot Dosim. 2008; 132:182- 190) of children and young adults living near 198 nuclear sites in 10 countries was found to be compatible with the study described above.
It is important to note that the sensitivity to the damaging effects of radiation in early embryonic and fetal life is much higher than in adults, and young children are also particularly vulnerable.
The radioactive elements “routinely” emitted from nuclear power plant stacks into the air can be inhaled, or ingested when they concentrate in the food chain – in vegetables and fruit, -and then further concentrated in various internal organs in humans. Similarly, the millions of gallons of cooling water flushed daily from a nuclear reactor into the always adjoining water source (lake, river or sea) contaminate it with radioactive materials which bio-concentrate hundreds of times in the aquatic food chain. The fish of course, who may ingest these materials in the surrounding water, routinely travel for tens and even hundreds of miles before they are caught by commercial or recreational purposes. And when caught their physical appearance does not provide any clues about such ingestion.
Unfortunately, radioactive elements are invisible to the human senses – taste, smell, and sight. Also unfortunately, the incubation time for radiation-induced cancer is five to 60 years, a long, silent latent period. No cancer ever denotes its specific cause.