Commenting on the publication today of the 17th Report of the Committee on the Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) – and its spokesman’s statements to BBC Radio Cumbria (minutes 03.35 to 08.07) – CORE notes:
- that publication of the Report is two years late and questions why the relatively innocuous findings of the report should have been ‘sat on’ for two years.
- that the Report confirms the ‘highly unusual excess of leukaemia and NHL cases among children and young adults in Seascale’ – and warns that ‘it is impossible to conclude that excess cases will not occur in the future’.
- that the Report’s analysis of thyroid incidence (1974-2012) reveals a consistent excess in Cumbria for those born between 1929 and 1963
- that Sellafield’s 1952-1998 radioactive discharge data (provided in 2000 by Sellafield) as used by the Report has long been challenged as being an unreliable underestimation
- that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and Sellafield Ltd should do further work on the sites ‘historic’ environmental discharges of Iodine-129 and Polonium-210
- that, in relation to the excess cancer incidence, the report’s finding that ‘it seems most unlikely to be simply attributable to exposure to radiation from radioactive discharges’ was subsequently contradicted in the BBC Radio Cumbria interview (News Hour 30th September) when COMARE’s spokesman specifically ‘ruled out’ radiation as a cause
- that having ‘ruled out’ radiation in favour of nailing its flag to the unsubstantiated and hypothetical ‘population mixing’ mast as an infective cause of childhood leukaemia, COMARE admits that the underlying mechanism ‘has yet to be identified’
- that the population mixing hypothesis is not offered by COMARE as a cause for the excess incidence of thyroid cancer
- that, when questioned by BBC Radio Cumbria on the risks of population mixing to the Moorside new-build development, COMARE ducked the issue by referring only to Moorside’s discharges, ignoring the inference to the mass influx of thousands of workers to West Cumbria for the development – an influx that underpins the population mixing hypothesis and, if ever confirmed, would result in an increase in cancer rates in West Cumbria as a result of the worker influx
- that, under COMARE’s now favoured population mixing hypothesis, similar rises in cancer incidence would be inflicted on communities around other UK new-build sites.
CORE’s health campaigner Janine Allis-Smith said today:
Our initial reading of the Report suggests that, apart from this new COMARE love-in with the widely discredited population mixing theory, it is little more than a rehash of earlier reports. Radiation is a well-established and long-acknowledged cause of childhood leukaemia and it is particularly disturbing to note its apparent abandonment by COMARE in favour of an unsubstantiated theory that for almost 30 years has singularly failed to identify the causal virus. As German Federal Government radiation expert, Dr. Wolfgang Hoffman puts it: ‘There is little evidence of this population mixing hypothesis and absolutely no evidence of either a virus or antibodies to it. This hypothesis has primarily arisen to explain away the risk of radiation’.
See also YouTube video