120% more child leukaemia near nuclear power stations

from 10.12.2007

(by Diet Simon)

A German study has found children under five are at 60% greater risk of getting cancer and 120% greater risk of getting leukaemia if they live within five kilometres of a nuclear power station. The case-control study covers the 16 locations of German nuclear power stations over a period of 24 years.

It was initiated by the German section of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and carried out by the Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), which reports to the German environment ministry.

The study shows that the closer children live to a nuke, the more they are at risk of contracting leukaemia.

Researchers from the University of Mainz found that 37 children living within a radius of five kilometres from reactors developed leukaemia, whereas only 17 new cases were to be anticipated on the basis of the statistical average for the study period from 1980 to 2003.

Consequently, the analysis concludes that 20 additional leukaemia cases are related to the fact that the children live so close to the nuclear power plants.

"Our study confirms that in Germany a relationship is observable between the proximity of the home to the nearest nuclear power plant at the time of diagnosis and the risk of contracting cancer (respectively leukaemia) before the child's fifth birthday," the researchers write.

One member of the expert commission that oversaw the study even considers the conclusions to be understated. According to him, the data indicate an increased risk of cancer for children in a radius of 50 kilometres.

It needed lobbying since 2001 by the local IPPNW section and more than 10,000 protest letters from the public authorities and ministries to get the BfS to commission the study.

The campaign was triggered by a study initiated by the IPPNW and carried by Dr. Alfred Körblein (Environment Institute Munich), which found significantly higher child cancer incidence near Bavarian nuclear power stations.

The BfS commissioned its study to the Mainzer Kinderkrebsregister (Mainz Child Cancer Register) in 2003.

“Now that the connection between increased cancer and leukaemia rates and proximity of the residence to the nuclear power station has been established, the causes of this must be further clarified immediately,” IPPNW says in a media release.

“The population affected at nuclear power station locations must be examined by suitable screening methods fast and comprehensively.”

“Given these massive findings at every German nuclear power station location, a radiation-linked cause is highly likely in every case. Anyone who now still talks of coincidence is making himself ridiculous,” writes Dr. med. Angelika Claussen, chair of the German IPPNW.

“The precautionary principle enshrined in European environment law now demands that the German nuclear power stations be switched off immediately.”

“The IPPNW demands that the environment ministry now greatly reduce the obviously too lax upper limits for radioactive emissions from nuclear power stations. From now on the burden of proof of cause of illness should no longer have to be borne by parents, but conversely by the operators of the nuclear installations.”

The BfS media release about its study in German: http://www.bfs.de/en/bfs/presse/aktuell_press/Studie_Kernkraftwerke.html

More IPPNW background and chronology in German at www.ippnw-ulm.de

More on the topic: www.alfred-koerblein.de www.bfs.de

Contact: Reinhold Thiel www.ippnw-ulm.de

Bearbeitet am: 10.12.2007/ad


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