Saturday, September 05, 2015

Increased risk of Infant Mortality near Hinkley Point Nuclear power station after 1996 release

A survey of infant mortality around Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station has shown that the risk of dying within 1 year of birth was doubled in a period following an unusual release of radiation,

This is a Press Release from Green Audit (5 Sept 2015), slightly edited.

Hinkley Point Nuclear Site Illegal Releases of Radiation Killed Infants

An epidemiological study of infant and perinatal mortality, stillbirth and breast cancer in populations living near the Hinkley Point Nuclear power station in Somerset was published today [1]. In a 14 page paper including risk maps, graphs and statistical data, the authors, present results obtained through analysis of official data to examine health indicators by distance from the radioactively contaminated estuary of the tidal River Parratt.

The drying offshore mud bank, the Steart flats,  are the repository for the historic cumulative releases of radioactivity from Hinkley Point since 1957. In Burnham-on-Sea near the contamination previous studies by the same group found a statistically significant doubling of breast cancer mortality. The new research focuses on genetic effects on birth outcomes and shows that within 6km of the contamination there was a doubling of risk of death (1993-1998) in the first year of life.
The trend with distance from contamination was significant but there was no correlation with deprivation. 

The main effects in the 1993-98 period were in Burnham on Sea downwind of the reactors. There was a 4-fold excess risk of infant mortality (RR = 4.3; p = 0.01) mainly in the first month of life (RR = 6.7; p = 0.003 based on 4 deaths). 

Sex- ratio (an indicator of a transgenerational genetic damage effect) was also anomalous over the whole period 1993-2005 at 1175 (boys to 1000 girls) compared with 1055 expected.  

Breast cancer mortality in Burnham on Sea north was 70% greater than expected over the whole period (RR = 1.7 ; p = 0.001 based on 41 deaths, 24 expected). 

In the whole period 1993-2005 there was an excess of infant deaths in the 11 estuary wards (24 deaths in 3866 births) compared with 138 deaths in the 34005 births in the rest of the area (Odds Ratio = 1.53; 0.99

This is the third recent epidemiological paper by this group showing increases in adult cancer near British nuclear sites; the other studies examined Bradwell in Essex and Trawsfynydd in Wales. However, the focus of the latest study is on genetic effects in children. 

Corresponding author Prof. Christopher Busby said: Adults and children living near nuclear sites are clearly suffering serious adverse health outcomes from permitted releases. This is sanctioned by the obsolete and inaccurate radiation risk model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection ICRP. This is a Human Rights issue. There is now enough published evidence to require the EURATOM Basic Safety Standards Directive to be urgently overhauled on the basis of its legal requirement for new Justification of all practices to be carried out if new scientific evidence emerges that its basic assumptions are wrong.

Contact: Christopher Busby +44 7989-428833; +371 29419511;
[1] Busby C et al. Infant and Perinatal Mortality and Stillbirths near Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station in Somerset 1993-2005; an epidemiological investigation of causation.

No comments: