Stop Hinkley Press Release

20th July 2007

Hinkley features in international childhood leukaemia study

A new compilation of international studies into childhood leukaemia shows a 23 percent increase in the disease near over two hundred nuclear sites including Hinkley Point.

The study by the Medical University of South Carolina published yesterday (19th July) adds together the findings of seventeen research studies published in the 1980's and '90's examining leukaemia in children living within 16 kilometres (10 miles) of nuclear power stations and other nuclear facilities.

It found that both incidence and mortality of leukaemia in those up to nine years old is twenty three percent above average. From nine years to 24 years, incidence of leukaemia was ten percent above normal while leukaemia mortality ranged between nine to eighteen percent above average. Strong confidence levels were found in the overall statistics.

The Hinkley Point study included in the compilation was conducted in 1989 by Dr Cameron Bowie of Somerset Health Authority. The study itself confirmed the findings of two earlier studies by the Health Authority. Leukaemia in those under 24 years was 24 percent higher than the national average over a seventeen year period between 1971 and 1987. The electoral ward containing Hinkley Point had the highest rate of 91 percent above average.

The study catchment excluded Burnham-on-Sea which has since been the focus of further studies.

The Somerset Health Authority report revealed that "for the ten year period 1964 to 1973 following the commissioning of the 'A' station, there was a markedly high incidence in the Hinkley Point area while the rate for the rest of the [91 wards examined] was close to the national average. In particular there were nine cases registered there in the five year period 1969-1973 when only two could be expected from national rates. This difference is unlikely to have arisen by chance."

The international study covering Canada , Japan , Great Britain , France , Spain , Germany and the USA reinforces other studies near Hinkley Point and Oldbury nuclear power stations.

In 2002 Burnham group Parents Concerned About Hinkley conducted a doorstep survey of one third of the homes in North Burnham. The figures were analysed by Dr Chris Busby of Green Audit and revealed a three-fold excess of leukaemia in the 1,600 residents questioned plus other cancers over the previous ten years.

South West Cancer Intelligence Service followed this with research showing a doubling of leukaemia in the town over a similar timescale, which they attributed to an elderly population. An excess of breast cancer was also found in the town but attributed by SWCIS to random occurence.

In 2001 Dr Busby also found an eleven fold risk of childhood leukaemia in the town of Chepstow directly across the Severn estuary from Oldbury power station from 1974 to 1990. Three of the children were said to be from the same school in a Sunday Observer report at the time.

Jim Duffy, spokesman for Stop Hinkley and Shut Oldbury said: "The new study adds momentum to the growing view that levels of radiation previously considered harmless, are indeed having an effect on our children in the form of this awful disease. It's high time to wind down this polluting technology, drop plans for Hinkley 'C' and get on with clean energy production which will not harm human life now or in the future."

 

Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley and Shut Oldbury, 07968 974805

 

Notes:

 

1. Nine page report attached: "Meta analysis of standardized incidence and mortality rates of childhood leukaemia in proximity to nuclear facilities" PJ Baker, Medical University of South Carolina (Click here)

2. 36 page report available by fax or post on request: "Leukaemia incidence in Somerset with particular reference to Hinkley Point" Dr Cameron Bowie, Somerset Health Authority 1989 (See Contacts page)

3. See www.llrc.org for studies by Dr Chris Busby and references to SWCIS report.

4. The Parents Concerned About Hinkley doorstep survey analysis was sponsored by Stop Hinkley.

5. The Chepstow research conducted by Dr C. Busby was instigated and press released by Shut Oldbury, a Stop Hinkley campaign.

 

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