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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

French review examines nuclear site-leukemia relationship

An interesting article on the French review. One thing to note here is that the vast majority of studies show no effect at even higher amounts of radiation (e.g., monazite sands in parts of India and Brazil give those populations around 3 rem without evidence of effect).


French review examines nuclear site-leukemia relationship

Washington (Platts)--22Apr2008
The recent German study of cancers around nuclear sites is the only one that identifies a clear relation between nuclear facility proximity and excess incidence of childhood leukemia, France's Institute of Nuclear Protection and Safety, IRSN, found in a review of epidemiological studies around nuclear sites. Dominique Laurier of IRSN's Epidemiology Laboratory said April 22 that the institute's review of 198 single-site epidemiological studies in 10 countries had confirmed the "persistence" of leukemia clusters in children around three sites: Sellafield and Dounreay in the UK, where both reactors and fuel cycle installations were operated, and Germany's Kruemmel nuclear power plant. But its review of 25 "multi-site" studies in eight countries showed that there were no multi-site studies, except the recent German one, that found such a relation. The German study, by the Institute of Medical Biometry, Epidemiology, and Information Science at the University of Mainz, published
December 10, found a statistically significant relationship between leukemia among children below 4 years of age and their proximity to nuclear plant sites. But Laurier said the German researchers could offer no explanation for the excess other than proximity to the sites, and said that "the German study seem to be isolated" from the mainstream of multi-site studies. IRSN undertook the review at the request of the French nuclear safety authority, ASN. The review can be downloaded from http://www.irsn.fr.


Alexandra Prokopenko said...

Actually similar results can be found in studies of health in the Chernobyl-affected zone and around it, and in places of high industrial and among other nuclear activities. Not surprising at all - although does this really mean that the plants in France are not secure enough?

rsm said...

As I recall, the immediate doses near Chernobyl are much higher than for those of the German or French plants (that was part of the reason, along with iodine deficincy, that there were the increased thyroid cancers among the children).

People are scratching their heads because this German study is at odds with all of the research done world wide on low level radiation (i.e., doses less than 5 to 10 rem per year). We do not see higher leukemia rates near natural radiation hot spots in India or Brazil.