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RADIATION AND HEALTH

 

Radiation is released from Pilgrim NPS as part of its daily operations.  There is no safe dose of radiation. Radiation, in both high and low doses, causes cancer, autoimmune disease, reproductive disorders and birth defects.  Its effects are cumulative.  Radiation works synergistically with other toxins to enhance each others “mischief.”  Radiation causes harm through inhalation and ingestion.  Many radionuclides are long lived and can remain in the food chain for countless years.

NEW:  National Academy of Sciences  Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations
Near Nuclear Facilities- Phase 1   [posted 04.11]

At the request of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC), the National Academy of Sciences is carrying out an assessment of cancer risks in populations living near USNRC-licensed nuclear facilities. This assessment will be carried out in two consecutive phases. A Phase 1 scoping study will identify scientifically sound approaches for carrying out an epidemiological study of cancer risks. This scoping study will begin on September 1, 2010, and will last for 15 months. The result of this Phase 1 study will be used to inform the design of the cancer risk assessment, which will be carried out in a future Phase 2 study.

Click Here for the Agenda Draft: April 4. 2011

For further information on the study, please visit the project website at www.nationalacademies.org/cancerriskstudy. To sign up for project updates or to submit a comment or question, please send a message to the project email: crs@nas.edu

 

National Academy of Sciences, BEIR VII Report, June 2005
No Safe Dose Radiation - Cancer Risks for Women and Children Far Higher Than for Men


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) latest report on radiation risk, called the BEIR VII report (“BEIR” stands for the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) was issued June 2005. Its conclusion was simple: No amount of radiation is safe and women and children are the most at risk.

Women and Children Most at Risk: The National Academy reported that overall cancer mortality risks for females are 37.5 percent higher than for men, and the risks for all solid tumors (lung, breast, and prostateare almost 50 percent higher. The differential risk for children is even greater. The same radiation in the first year of life for children produces three to four times the cancer risk as exposure between the ages of 20 and 50. Female infants have almost double the risk as male infants.
 
Impact Offspring from Parents Exposure: While the report states there is no direct evidence of harm to human offspring from exposure of parents to radiation, the committee noted that such harm has been found in animal experiments and that there is “no reason to believe that humans would be immune to this sort of harm.”  This should be of concern to nuclear worker’s families. 

Heart Disease and Stroke: The National Academy stated that No amount of radiation exposure is safe; and noted that relatively high levels of radiation exposure increase risk not only of cancer but also of heart disease and stroke.

What does this mean for us? The Federal Government’s “permissible” maximum radiation dose for members of the public exposed to Pilgrim is 100 millirads per year for a 70-year lifetime. According to the Academy’s report this translates to (1) in (100) members of the public getting cancer if so exposed. In addition, 1 in about 5 workers would get cancer if exposed to the legally allowable occupational doses over their 50 years in the workforce. Pilgrim claims to release a tiny fraction of the permissible dose. If true, why do they fight changing the standard to a far lower number to better protect public health? 

These risks are much higher than permitted for other carcinogens - the allowable release for one chemical from a factory is a lifetime cancer incidence risk of (1) in a million. Apparently it is permissible for Pilgrim to cause cancer in TEN THOUSAND times as many people as an ordinary chemical factory. 

The National Academy’s report fully supports the Town of Duxbury’s vote at Annual Town Meeting 2005. It set preconditions for re-licensing Pilgrim that included reducing allowable radioactive emissions into our air and water so that the biological impact is no greater than that allowed from the releases from a chemical plant licensed today; and verification of releases by monitors – computer linked to state and local authorities – at all points where radiation is released from Pilgrim and at appropriate off-site locations.  

The National Academy’s report is available on the Web at http://books.nap.edu/

Communities in Southeastern Massachusetts are at risk.  The Massachusetts Department of Health’s own study, The Southeastern Massachusetts Health Study [published in the Archives of Environmental Health, Vol. 51, p.266, July-August 1996] found a four-fold increase in adult leukemia the closer one lived or worked to the Pilgrim NPS.

License Renewal and Health:  New and significant information about cancer rates in the communities around Pilgrim and the demographics of these communities has become available.  In addition, new studies show that even low doses of ionizing radiation can be harmful to human health.  Epidemiological studies of cancer rates in the communities around Pilgrim show an increase of radiation-linked disease that can be attributed to past operations of the plant.  The demographics of the population immediately surrounding the plant, including its age and geographical distribution, make this population more susceptible to radiation-linked damage than was contemplated when the plant was licensed.  Pilgrim does not currently have off-site monitoring capabilities that can properly track releases of radiation into the community

 

LEARN MORE

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Understanding Radiation Health Effects; Guide for Communities at Risk   More

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Radiation Basics, a Report by NIRS  More

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No Safe Dose Radiation – References  More

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How Radiation Affects You - Graphic from National Geographic, April 1989; and Informed Consent Form for Human Research  in the Nuclear Power Experiment More

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Studies of Radiation Linked Disease around Pilgrim NPS More

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Pilgrim Worker Suit: Thomas Smith V. General Electric Company and Boston Edison More

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Massachusetts Cancer Registry – Pilgrim EPZ Data 1990-1999 More

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Expected Health Effects If There Is an Accident at Pilgrim 
- What The Experts Say  More

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Can We Trust The Nuclear Industry In The Event Of An Accident? TMI, an example  More

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Top 10 Pro-nuclear Arguments Answered, Dr. John Gofman  More

RESOURCES



Committee for Nuclear Responsibility 
http://www.ratical.com/radiation/CNR/ 
Actually, this site is run by the RatHaus, but it contains the pioneering and essential work on radiation health hazards conducted by  Dr. John Gofman. New pieces are added regularly.

Institute of Energy and Environmental Research
http://www.ieer.org/
See especially the report, Healthy from the Start: Building Better Environmental Health Standards, 2007.

Radiation and Public Health Project http://www.radiation.org/ 
A nonprofit educational and scientific organization, established by scientists and physicians dedicated to understanding the relationships between low-level, nuclear radiation and public health.

Standing for Truth about Radiation (STAR) http://www.noradiation.org/home/home.htm 
A Long Island, NY-based group concerned especially about the Millstone reactors and Brookhaven National Laboratory. They also are involved with radiation and health issues generally.

National Academy of Sciences report, Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR VII - Phase 2) reviews scientific data and concludes that even low does of ionizing radiation are likely to pose some risk of adverse health effects, June 2005 
http://national-academies.org

Three Mile Island Alert  http://www.tmia.com/

Clark University, Marsh Center Report Overview Research Radiation Health Effects http://www.clarku.edu/departments/marsh/projects/community/EpiOverviewFinal.pdf.
 

Chernobyl Anniversary Resources:
 

 

 

More about radiation health effects

 

PilgrimWatch.org