Air



Nucléaire,
non merci!

On affirme que durant les années 60, les résultats des premières recherches sur la radiation présente dans les dents des bébés aurait influencé les efforts qui ont réussi à bannir les essais nucléaires.  Aujourdhui, le « Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) » [1]continue danalyser les dents des bébés dans le cadre de l’étude « Fée des dents ».  La plus récente étude démontre, quau sud-est de la Floride, le montant de strontium 90 (Sr 90) a augmenté de 37 % entre le milieu des années 80 et le milieu des années 90.  On trouve deux fois plus de Sr 90 dans les dents des enfants victimes du cancer que dans les autres enfants.  Une autre étude a démontré, quen moyenne, les concentration de Sr 90 ont augmenté par 50 % chez les enfants nés à la fin des années 90 par rapport aux enfants nés vers la fin des années 80.  On a trouvé que les plus haut taux moyens de Sr 90 se retrouvaient dans les comtés proches des réacteurs nucléaires.  On a aussi trouvé que les plus haut taux de cancer des seins se retrouvaient dans ces mêmes régions.  Par ailleurs, une autre étude a confirmé quil y avait une diminution de 35 à 50 pour cent des cancers infantiles dans les régions qui avaient fermé leur réacteurs nucléaires. 

Les citoyens doivent exiger que des études soient entreprises puisque nous sommes ceux qui souffrent et qui meurent inutilement pour satisfaire lavidité insatiable de profits dun petit nombre de personnes. 

 
[1] Projet radiation et santé publique, une organisation américaine éducative et scientifique, sans but lucratif, dédiées à la compréhension des relations entre la radiation nucléaire de faible intensité et la santé publique.

 

 


No Nukes


Sharon and Don Flatt
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice 
& the Environment in Saint John

November 2003

Dr. Ursula Franklin initiated measuring radiation in baby teeth in the 1960's. The research done then determined Strontium-90 (Sr-90) levels in baby teeth had risen 50 times the national average. Scientists believed that this was due to regular above ground atomic bomb testing. These initial findings are said to have influenced the successful push for a nuclear test ban. 

Two children riding bicycles past Pickering
(photo: Children riding bicycles past Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, Ontario)

Today, the Radiation and Public Health Project continues the testing of baby teeth under the auspices of the Tooth Fairy Study. They send their teeth to a lab in Ontario. Their latest study found that the amount of Sr-90 rose 37% from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s in southeast Florida baby teeth. Children diagnosed with cancer had twice the Sr-90 as other children. The drinking water in the vicinity of two nuclear power plants near Miami and West Palm Beach was the most significant source of Sr-90. The report was co-authored by Dr. Earnest Sternglass from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and Dr. Jerry Brown from Florida International University in Miami. Dr. Brown issued a press release in which he noted that "the recent 2003 recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk found that the world-wide health effects of very low levels of radioactivity have been vastly underestimated."
Read the press release

A prior study looked at 3500 baby teeth from five different U.S. states and everywhere the findings were troubling. They found that, on average, Sr-90 concentration had risen fifty percent from children born in the late 1980's to those born in the late 1990's. They found that the highest average levels of Sr-90 were in counties close to nuclear plants. They also found higher breast cancer rates in the same areas. (www.radiation.org/nuclink.html) These results were reported in Ottawa at the World Conference on Breast Cancer in 2000. The Radiation and Public Health Project is a non-profit group of scientists and health professionals dedicated to researching the risks to human health from exposure to atomic bomb test fallout and nuclear plant emissions. (www.radiation.org)

Sr-90 is listed on the National Research Council of Canada's (NRC) website as a radioactive element "released in nuclear explosions". There is no mention of nuclear power plants as a source for Sr-90. According to the NRC website, Sr-90 "poses a serious health hazard to humans. It can accumulate in the skeletal system since the body does a poor job of distinguishing between Sr-90 and calcium. Thus, radiation emitted from radioactive Sr-90 can interfere with the formation of new blood cells, with severe health consequences."

Doctor Janet Sherman of the Tooth Fairy Project explains on the Radiation and Public Health Project website that children are vulnerable to Sr-90 in ways that adults are not. Babies in-utero get Sr-90 from their mothers, who consume it through the food chain. Babies knit Sr-90 into growing bones and teeth when their bodies mistake it for calcium. This information matches with the National Research Council of Canada's information; however, it is farfetched to think that nuclear explosions could account for the dramatic increases in Sr-90 levels over the last decade that the Tooth Fairy Project has reported. More likely, this recent increase of Sr-90 levels in baby teeth is due to releases from nuclear power plants.

Baby teeth

It is unclear what the acceptable levels of Sr-90 are in Canada. According to Health Canada's website, the maximum acceptable concentration of Sr-90 is 5 bq/litre. However, click over to Environment Canada's site and the Sr-90 acceptable limit is listed at 10 bq/litre as acceptable for water quality in some areas.  Health Canada has been measuring Cesium (Cs-137) and Sr-90 in milk and drinking water since the middle of the 1900's but dramatically scaled back their testing in 1994. Doctor Murray Stewart, Past President and C.E.O. of the Canadian Nuclear Association said in an article by Michael Downey in 1999 that radiation released from Canadian nuclear plants is "infinitesimally small." He said, "Studies have never shown any link between commercial reactors or commercial uranium to any incidence of cancer." However, Tom Adams from Energy Probe referred me to a U.K. working paper in Bellona #5:2001 that disputes this. According to the British paper, studies have shown that the chance of developing leukemia is greater for the population living close to Sellafield Nuclear Plant than for the rest of the population in the United Kingdom.

Norman Rubin is the Senior Consultant from Borealis Energy Research Association and Director of Nuclear Research and Senior Policy Analyst for Energy Probe. He published a study that found that the higher rates of childhood leukemia mortality around the Pickering and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations is "statistically significant" at the 19 times out of 20 (p<05) level. According to Norman Rubin, this study was reviewed by two AECB (Atomic Energy Canada Board?) experts, one of whom "basically endorsed" his findings. He said that the AECB still decided that the leukemia excess was "most likely due to chance" and did no appropriate follow-up. Another study in 1991 by David McArthur, a former Canadian Nuclear Association researcher, found that approximately 33% of birth defects in Pickering may be caused by the Pickering Candu nuclear plant. "The radioactive isotopes tritium and carbon-14 are most likely the cause of at least seven types of (birth) defects. CANDU reactors routinely release large amounts of both isotopes--more than other reactor types--and the Pickering station has exceeded its short-term radiation release guidelines. Both isotopes accumulate in locally grown food, a major pathway to reproductive damage. The isotopes accumulate in chromosomes, increasing damage to genetic material during atomic decay and…inevitably cause genetic damage in Pickering residents." (http://www.antenna.nl/wise/361/3568.html)

That brings us to a study by Joe Mangano from the Tooth Fairy Project, published in the Environmental Epidemeology and Toxicology journal in 2000, which researched the occurrence of childhood cancer around 12 closed down nuclear reactors. Results of the study showed that there was a 35-50 percent decrease in childhood cancer in those regions following the shutdown of the reactors. So what are we to believe? Where should we live? Personally, living less than fifty miles from the Point Lepreau nuclear plant, I wonder if my children are safe enough. With the exception of Energy Probe, Canadian studies on the levels of radiation in people living near nuclear power plants are non-existent.

With the strong possibility of the refurbishment of Point Lepreau going ahead without any Environmental Impact Assessment, we won't be getting such studies any time soon. It is up to the citizens to demand that these studies be done to conclude one way or another if all of us are suffering and dying unnecessarily for the greater good…or greed.