Radiation risks: When will they ever learn?

New paper on cancer rates in Belarus confirms LLRC's predictions

The Swiss Medical Weekly has published findings from the Clinical Institute of Radiation Medicine and Endocrinology Research, Minsk, Belarus showing a 40% increase in cancer between 1990 and 2000. The researchers used data from the National Cancer Registry, established in 1973. They compared the post Chernobyl period with rates before the accident on April 26, 1986.

Relative Risks all have high statistical significance. Increases in the various oblasts (regions) were:

Brest 33%

Vitebsk 38%

Gomel 52%

Grodno 44%

Minsk 49%

Mogilev 32%

Minsk city 18%

all Belarus 40%

The authors note that increases in breast cancer are happening earlier in populations in the more highly contaminated regions (Gomel and Mogilev) than in less contaminated Vitebsk. This dose related difference in the time lag for radiation-induced cancers is known from other studies and is most marked for breast cancer.

In 2001 Chris Busby reported to the Belarus government that cancer would increase by 125% over the lifetimes of the exposed population http://www.llrc.org/belarus.htm . Now, 18 years after the accident, 40% of that increase is apparent. The view of conventional radiation protection "experts", however, is that very little if any cancer has resulted or will result from the fallout. This was expressed, for example, in 2000 by a United Nations committee:

"Apart from the substantial increase in thyroid cancer after childhood exposure observed in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine there is no evidence of a major public health impact related to ionising radiation 14 years after the Chernobyl accident. No increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality that could be associated with radiation exposure have been observed. The risk of leukaemia, one of the most sensitive indicators of radiation exposure, has not been found to be elevated even in the accident recovery operation workers or in children. There is no scientific proof of an increase in non-malignant disorders related to ionising radiation.

… For the most part [the public] were exposed to radiation levels comparable to or a few times higher than the natural background levels. Lives have been disrupted by the Chernobyl accident but from the radiological point of view, based on the assessment of this Annex, generally positive prospects for the future health of most individuals should prevail."

UNSCEAR (2000) United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. Sources and Effects of Ionising Radiation 2000. UN General Assembly, with Scientific Annexes. United Nations New York. Annex J Final Summary

For evidence of increases in non-malignant disorders see
http://www.llrc.org/chernobyl.htm – summaries of 100 papers from the affected territories.

The Belarus paper is freely available for download as a pdf:

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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Dezember 2004

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