Saturday, October 11, 2014

Childhood Leukemia and Nuclear Plant Releases

Children are vulnerable to environmental harms, especially radionuclides from nuclear power plan plumes - 500X typical background - produced during re-fueling:
Radioactive spikes from nuclear plants - a likely cause of childhood leukemia. Dr Ian Fairlie 29th September 2014. The Ecologist

When nuclear reactors are refueled, a 12-hour spike in radioactive emissions exposes local people to levels of radioactivity up to 500 times greater than during normal operation, writes Ian Fairlie. The spikes may explain infant leukemia increases near nuclear plants - but operators provide no warnings and take no measures to reduce exposures.

On 23rd August, The Ecologist published very clear evidence of increased cancers among children living near nuclear power stations around the world, including the UK.

The story sparked much interest on social media sites, and perhaps more importantly, the article's scientific basis (published in the academic peer-reviewed scientific journal the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity) was downloaded over 500 times by scientists.

Majia here: I strongly recommend reading Dr. Fairlie's article in The Ecologist. I also recommend highly the following article discussing the politicization of cancer when the disease is stripped from the environmental causes:
Time to Talk Frankly About Cancer by KRISTINE MATTIS

[excerpted ] It is basic scientific knowledge that cancer is not inheritable, but in light of the discovery of various genes that confer increased susceptibility to cancer, this fact is not always well understood by the population at large. Only 5-10% of people who contract any type of cancer have any sort of inherited genetic susceptibility. Therefore, the focus on inherited mutant alleles leaves out the majority 90-95% of people suffering from cancer. While it is true that the minority 5-10% who do have these mutant alleles have a much greater risk for disease than the rest of us, they do not have an inherent “predisposition” to cancer. Labeling these genes as “cancer genes” or even “genetic predispositions” is a terrible misnomer. These genes increase susceptibility to cancer when exposed to cancer causing agents.

…More and more we are learning that many of the over 80,000 synthetic chemicals that humans have constructed over the course of the last century or so not only directly cause DNA mutations that lead to cancer, but mimic estrogen in our bodies, which indirectly lead to cancer. These chemicals are in food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the endless industrial products we produce and consume. They are quite often the products and processes of industry, and are not essential to maintain a comfortable life on this planet.

In addition, the radiation we receive from sources such as diagnostic exams via x-ray, CT scan, and other radiologic medical procedures are being shown to contribute to excess cancers. For example, the UK Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment recently stated that one out of 2000 people will contract cancer due to abdominal CT scans – otherwise known as an iatrogenic cancer.

…But for some reason, this plain and simple fact that exposure to carcinogens can and does lead to cancer is always absent in the medical discussion of cancer. Part of the reason may be that medical practitioners are rarely, if ever, versed in environmental health, so they are not even educated about environmental toxicology and the myriad diseases caused by environmental exposures. But part of the reason is likely political and economic.
Cancer is an environmentally mediated disease because environmental genotoxins typically cause the mutations and epigenetic methylation processes that give rise to cancerous cells.

Children, whose cells divide more frequently than adults, are particularly susceptible to genotoxins capable of giving rise to cancerous mutations and methylations.

Nuclear PP no doubt contribute significantly to rising cancer rates in adults and children, particularly in the wake of re-fueling and the not-so-infrequent accidents, which are predicted to occur with regularity every 10 years or so.

      Severe nuclear reactor accidents likely every 10 to 20 years, European study suggests May 22, 2012 source Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's interesting. I agree with the assessment that medical practitoners are rarely versed in environmental exposure. My son's in-laws are in the medical field—one even operates a CT scanner—and none of them have a clue about radiation dangers.