Adult Cancer in Sweden

A study published by the British Medical Association in November (Tondel 2004) shows an unexpected increase in adult cancers in Sweden after Chernobyl.

A preliminary examination shows:-

1) The 849 extra cancers registered in 9 post-accident years 1988 and 1996 (a 30% increase in incidence) are at least 125 times the incidence predicted by ICRP on the basis of Caesium doses. This minimum figure is on the conservative assumption that the effect is transient and that there will be no excess after 1996. This is very unlikely. If the effect is representative of the distribution of risks throughout life, and in this case the increase is more than 600 times greater than expected. If, as the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority is now saying (BBC 2004), “Most cancer cases don’t develop until 20, 30 or 50 years later” (compare with the lifetime follow-up of Hiroshima survivors, which shows a consistent upward trend) the excess will worsen and the implied error in ICRP’s modelling will be greater than 600. We can see 600 as the central estimate. (We will shortly add a page to www.llrc.org to show the calculation of these figures. Note that SRPA has previously estimated that in 50 years around 300 people in Sweden would be affected by the Chernobyl fallout [BBC 2004])

2) The dose response trend calculated by Tondel on the basis of the various level of Caesium deposition is biphasic, not linear. In other words it does not conform with the ICRP dogma that dose and effect are always strictly proportional or "linear". The Tondel study does not show twice as much dose causing twice as much cancer. Many observations show non-linear relationships like this - see, for example, the summaries of papers from the Chernobyl affected territories on http://www.llrc.org/chernobyl.htm.

3) The 30% increase conforms with predictions made by Chris Busby in "Wings of Death" (Busby 1996) on the basis of cancer data in Wales and England following weapons test fallout.

Further comment:
The doses given by Tondel et al. are calculated from Caesium fallout. This may mean nothing since Caesium is a gamma emitter which means that its energy deposition (in the form of ionisations) is spatially well distributed in tissue. It is, moreover, soluble and does not form particles. Its health effects are therefore likely to conform with the external irradiation models.

However, it is well known that north Sweden received a large amount of fallout in the form of Uranium fuel particles. With diameters of less than a few millionths of a metre such particles are highly mobile in the environment and they can be inhaled or swallowed. Once embedded in body tissue they deliver their energy so locally that the few cells immediately next to them are irradiated at very high energies while the rest of the body gets no dose at all. This makes nonsense of the concept of "average dose" – another establishment dogma.

Childhood leukaemia after Chernobyl – more evidence falsifying Cerrie.

Infant leukaemia increases after Chernobyl, according to the Cerrie Majority Report, did not feed through into incidence beyond the first year of life. We have now obtained data from the whole of Wales and Scotland which shows that this is wrong. Plotting incidence in children up to the age of 9 shows that the cohort born in 1986 – 88 has roughly 50% greater risk of leukaemia compared to the pre-accident period. We are preparing a paper for publication.


BBC News on-line 21st Nov ‘04 see Chernobyl ‘caused Sweden cancers’

Busby 1996 "Wings of Death: Nuclear Pollution and Human Health" Green Audit, Aberystwyth 1995 ISBN: 1-897761-03-1

Martin Tondel, Peter Hjalmarsson, Lennart Hardell, Göran Carlsson and Olav Axelson Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2004;58:1011-1016 "Increase of regional total cancer incidence in north Sweden due to the Chernobyl accident?" Abstract at http://jech.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/58/12/1011

Richard Bramhall
Low Level Radiation Campaign
The Knoll, Montpellier Park
Llandrindod Wells,
Powys LD1 5LW U.K.
+44(0)1597 824771
07887 942043


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November 2004

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