An investigation into clusters of cancer cases around Sellafield and Dounreay nuclear sites has found they were very unlikely to have been caused by radiation exposure. A report from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare) said the clusters had gone. It also found no evidence of a spike in thyroid cancers following the Windscale reactor fire in 1957. The committee said rural population mixing may have been a factor. Comare – an expert Department of Health committee – now wants more research to be carried out into the role that infection plays in the development of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It has been suggested that an infectious agent could be introduced into rural communities by an influx of people, triggering a rise in cases of these rare cancers. Around 500 children under 14 develop leukaemia every year in the UK, making it the most common cancer among children.
BBC 30th Sept 2016 read more »
Childhood leukaemia is probably triggered by a mystery virus raising hopes that a vaccination against the devastating disease could be found. The finding comes after 30 years of research into whether increased cancer rates near nuclear power stations are linked to radiation. Since the 1980s there have been concerns that nuclear plants were causing cancer after disease rates were found to be up to 10 times greater than the national average in communities like Seascale, near Sellafield in Cumbria. However today the government’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare) said there was no evidence that it was the nuclear power plants themselves which were behind the increase. Instead, they said it was more likely that the large influx of people who moved to areas to staff the plants had brought in viruses, which had triggered cancer in local populations.
Telegraph 30th Sept 2016 read more »
Children living near two nuclear sites in the United Kingdom, Sellafield and Dounreay, showed no increase in risk of leukaemia or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a new analysis of cancer rates from 1991 to 2006 has shown. The report’s authors said that the increased incidence of these cancers found in earlier years may have been associated with exposure to infections as people from elsewhere moved into these previously isolated rural areas. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) has been investigating possible cancer clusters around nuclear installations for the past 30 years. A report in 1984 found an increased incidence of leukaemia in under 25s living in Seascale, a village near the Sellafield nuclear site in northwest England. A second report in 1988 found higher rates of leukaemia in children and young people living near the Dounreay nuclear site in Caithness, Scotland.
BMJ 3rd Oct 2016 read more »