Christopher Busby exposes the fallacy behind the current accepted model of exposure hazard adopted by governments and the nuclear industry since the ‘50s and which he will be challenging in a major legal case in London in June on behalf of nuclear test veterans. This is one of the rare times that I publish someone else’s work to the IMVA.
March saw the publication, in the influential scientific journal Environmental Health and Toxicology, of a landmark analysis of the effects of internal radioactive contamination on the genetic integrity of life.
My German colleagues and I used published data from Chernobyl effects in Europe to dismiss the radiation risk model that is currently employed by governments to limit discharges and exposures.1 This is the model of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), which bases its analysis on a different scenario to the fallout from Chernobyl: the survivors of the Hiroshima bomb.
It is claimed that there were no cases of found in those who were there. So the ICRP uses data from mice to give a risk of a doubling of heritable effects after an exposure dose of 1,000 milliSieverts (mSv). To put this in perspective, natural background radiation’s annual dose is about 2mSv so ICRP says you need to have 500 times this dose to risk having a child with a birth defect.
However, our paper shows this is wildly incorrect: that the tiniest doses from ingested or inhaled radioactive materials released by accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima, produced by the 1960s atmospheric bomb tests, and emitted routinely under licence from nuclear sites like Sellafield and Hinkley Point, kill and deform babies at doses of less than 1mSv.
The Government and the nuclear industry defend the ICRP position by referring to natural background radiation. But, though it is true that life has been exposed to natural background radiation, including radon, throughout evolution, there has never been on Earth, prior to 1945, the new Uranium fission and activation products like Strontium-90, Caesium-137, Tritium, Carbon-14, Plutonium-239 and their nasty ‘daughters’ and relations. These substances and the entirely new, airborne, radioactive, pure particles of uranium and radium only appeared about 70 years ago. Already we can see the terrible damage they have caused to the human genome.
The fallout generation
The first evidence of harm was identified by the late Prof Ernest Sternglass.2 He pointed out that the period of the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons had caused increases in infant mortality in the USA and the UK. Fig 1 shows a graph of this effect re-plotted by me from a later paper in by a Canadian paediatrician, Robin Whyte.3 The figure also displays the increases in Strontium-90 in milk and in the bones of children aged 0-1 over the fallout period, as measured in autopsies by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Agency.
The sensitivity of the unborn child to radiation had been demonstrated by Alice Stewart at Birmingham University in 1958, but the authorities could not believe that the 10mSv X-ray doses to mothers could cause the 40% increases in childhood cancer that Stewart demonstrated.4 Nuclear weapons development was in full swing, fallout in the rain everywhere was causing increased measured levels of Strontium-90 in milk and children’s bones and teeth (see Fig 1).
The Cold War needed thermonuclear bombs: so research into the health effects of radiation was rapidly taken from the doctors and given to the nuclear physicists. The Japanese Hiroshima genetic data was manipulated.5 In 1959 an agreement was signed between the medics at the World Health Organisation and the physicists at the International Atomic Energy Agency, leaving all studies of radiation and health to the IAEA; thus the cover-up was sealed. This is why there has been no proper study of the health outcome of Chernobyl.
Fig 1. This graph shows first-day neonatal mortality rate per 1,000 births in the USA from 1936 to 1987. The black diamonds line shows the expected background fall in mortality rate based on the period either side of the atmospheric nuclear tests’ fallout. The red line shows the build-up of Strontium-90 in milk in the UK and the blue line, the build-up of Strontium-90 in bones of children in the UK aged 0-1. Mortality data from Robin Whyte’s paper.3 Note: different scales for milk and bone; Strontium-90 in milk (red: Bq/gCa++ x 10) and bone (blue: pCi/gm Ca++, sunshine units) from UK Atomic Energy Authority. 1pCi = 0.037Bq.
Radiation has its effects by causing mutations in the DNA, the material in the cell that carries all the information. If this is germ cell DNA (sperms and eggs), depending on the amount of damage, you get sterility, miscarriage, stillbirth or congenital effects, which can show as malformations at birth, or more silent malformations (eg. heart defects) or cancer later on.
If it is chromosomal DNA in a cell in the body then it can lead to cancer. The lag time between initial DNA damage and cancer is about 20 years. In my 1995 book, Wings of Death, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, I discussed all this and compared cancer rate trends in Wales with those in England.6 Because of the high rainfall, the cancer rates in Wales, which had been slightly higher than England, suddenly and alarmingly increased about 20 years after the fallout. The correlation was persuasive. Even the effect of the 1959 partial test ban was reflected in the cancer rate trend. The effect was particularly obvious for breast cancer, one of the sites most sensitive to radiation exposures, and I made such a suggestion in a letter published in the BMJ in 1994.7
Of course, the contamination of the planet did not stop with the 1963 Kennedy/Krushchev test ban. Where the testing stopped, the nuclear power contamination began, with releases under licence to the air and the sea. This was followed by the accidents, Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, the most infamous of many others. The world has been increasingly bathed with radioactivity since 1945 in a femtosecond of evolutionary time and there seems no sign of governments stopping this unless it can be proved that the radiation risk model is wildly incorrect and is killing people. But we can, as you will see.
Everyone now knows that the age-standardised cancer rates have been increasing alarmingly. Everyone has been touched by this epidemic. What is the cause? In the ‘50s, one in nine people developed cancer. In the 1990s it was one in five. In the last few years it is one in three and according to the WHO (who are not allowed to assess radiation) in 2020 it will be one in two.
None of the big cancer charities nor the Government health departments address the chief cause. Why? Because the main cause is ionising radiation. It is not smoking, nor lifestyle, nor obesity nor even the many chemicals now polluting the environment. The UK’s cancer epidemic began on the west coast in Wales and the west of Scotland with the rain and the fallout, not in the east, where the agrochemicals and insecticides are in greater concentration. This is the first thing I checked. As the late Dr John Gofman, of the US Atomic Energy Commission, wrote: ‘The nuclear industry is waging a war on humanity’.
The highest cancer rates are in those born at the peak of the fallout, from 1959 and 1963, now aged 52-56. The incidence of most cancers increases exponentially with age, but the ages when it is diagnosed are falling fast because everyone born after 1959 has been drinking contaminated milk, water and food as a baby, and building up Strontium-90 in their bones.
Strontium-90 (and uranium) binds chemically to DNA, the target for genetic damage. The effects are most easily seen in breast cancer and the proof that the breast cancer epidemic is caused by radioactive contamination can be seen in the studies of breast cancer near nuclear sites. We have carried out epidemiological studies of three nuclear sites in the UK: Bradwell in Essex, Trawsfynydd in Wales and Hinkley Point in Somerset. All three papers were published in a peer-reviewed journal.8-11 Two used official government mortality data to show there was a 100% excess risk of dying of breast cancer if you lived near the contamination; the other used a questionnaire organised by a TV company making a documentary.
Our new genetic paper, the subject of this article, reviewed all the evidence available from populations exposed to Chernobyl fallout. Increased congenital effects, heart defects, organ defects, limb defects, neurological effects like spina bifida and hydrocephalus, cleft palate, Downs syndrome and those appalling images that have been seen in Iraq after the use of depleted uranium weapons. All were found to increase immediately after the Chernobyl contamination.
Effects were reported from Belarus and Ukraine, but also from Croatia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the UK, places where the doses from the fallout were less than 1mSv. We also reviewed effects found in radiographers, surgeons using radiation, uranium miners, uranium nuclear workers in France and the UK and, finally, the children of the nuclear test veterans. I draw attention to this latter group because of what I am involved with in the High Court in London in June.
The nuclear test veterans’ case
Since 2004 I have been working with the nuclear test veterans as an expert witness in their cases against the UK Ministry of Defence, in the High Court action (which was lost on appeal) but, most successfully, in the Pensions Appeals. This has been in and out of Tribunals all over the country. I was successful in five cases in reversing the decisions by the Secretary of State for Defence not to grant pensions in cases of cancer, lymphoma and leukemia in veterans of the atmospheric weapons tests in Australia and Christmas Island in the 1950s.
Then the veterans’ solicitors, Rosenblatts, suddenly and unexpectedly dropped the case, a new group of solicitors, Hogan Lovells, took over, and threw me out just before the case was heard in February, 2013. The veterans appealed successfully and the case was remitted for a new hearing, which will occur over three weeks in Court 25 of the Royal Courts of Justice starting on June 14th.
Meanwhile, a proportion of the vets have died (of cancer). In the appeal in 2014, the MoD brought a successful motion to have me dismissed as a witness because they argued that, as an activist, I could not be unbiased. At this point the veterans appointed me as their Representative, so I am still there and the position is more effective than being an expert witness because I can cross-examine the MoD’s experts, something I am looking forward to.
I have already argued successfully in two hearings before a new judge, Sir Nicholas Blake, that we want access to secret material held by the MoD that shows the amounts of radioactivity, particularly uranium, in the bomb fallout. Uranium was not measured at the time, or at least the MoD will not give us any data, but we now know, from the effects of depleted uranium in Iraq and the Balkans, and also a huge amount of new research, that uranium is thousands of times more dangerous than is modelled by ICRP.
One of the effects it has (in uranium miners, workers, battlefield victims and populations, and nuclear test veterans) is that it causes huge amounts of genetic damage, shown as chromosome damage and congenital malformations. And, like Strontium-90, uranium binds to DNA.
The new judge has figured out that this is an issue. He ordered the release of some secret data showing the levels of congenital malformations in children and grandchildren of the veterans. Among his reasons for doing this, he wrote:
Dr Busby, who now represents the appellants Battersby and Smith, raises a number of new points not previously determined. . . The international Radiation Protection Authority’s guidance on the safe maxima in insufficient to screen out all risks to human health arising from explosions of the kind undertaken at Maralinga and Christmas Island.
Biggest public health scandal ever
We can use the secret birth defect data together with the new genetic paper to show that the radiation risk model of the ICRP is in error by about 1,000 times or more. This mistake, which was made in 1952 and has been promulgated ever since through the power and influence of the nuclear industry and the military, is, in the main, responsible for the deaths and agonies of all the people that you yourselves know have developed cancer – from the little, bald children, to the beautiful women suffering the cutting, burning and worse that is now orthodox treatment, to your parents, your own children and, indeed, yourselves.
This exposure is at the base of the loss of fertility and the increased real rates of heritable diseases (in advanced countries detected and aborted). Winning this case will put this issue firmly in front of the legislators. Accepting this combined chess move, the peer-reviewed study and the court case, should, in any unbiased court, result in the shutting down of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, including the nuclear submarines that deliver them. It is a Big Deal. But the prize is continued life on Earth.
About the author
Work stoppage continues at Hanford Nuclear Reservation http://q13fox.com/2016/07/12/work-stoppage-continues-at-hanford-nuclear-reservation/ JULY 12, 2016, BY ASSOCIATED PRESS SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A rare work stoppage continues by some Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers who contend that radioactive wastes left from the production of nuclear weapons are making them sick.
Union president Dave Molnaa, who ordered the work stoppage, said it will continue until all employees are provided with bottled air when working around all of the underground nuclear waste storage tanks on the Hanford site.
Workers have contended for years that chemical vapors escaping from the tanks are making them sick.
The steel tanks, some dating back to World War II, contain wastes created by the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council, a coalition of 15 unions that represent workers on the site near Richland, issued the “stop work” order on Monday morning.
Hanford nuclear contractor makes offer to cut vapor exposure, Bellingham Herald, 8 July 16
The contractor that operates radioactive waste storage tanks on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has proposed that employees who move tank farm waste perform their shifts on nights and weekends to reduce exposure to chemical vapors, after dozens of employees said they were sickened from vapors associated with the tanks. BY NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press SPOKANE, WASH.
The contractor that operates radioactive waste storage tanks on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has proposed that employees who move tank farm waste perform their shifts on nights and weekends to reduce exposure to chemical vapors, after dozens of employees said they were sickened from vapors associated with the tanks.
Washington River Protection Solutions this week asked unions to approve making evenings, nights and weekends the standard shifts for employees who transport the waste and work close to waste tanks. The request came a month after union leaders demanded that work that could release vapors be limited at the sprawling facility during the day when many more employees are present.
More than 8,000 people work at Hanford, but only about 700 have jobs involving waste transport and regular tasks at the waste tanks. Tank farm work involving the movement of nuclear waste is suspected in the release of the non-radioactive chemical vapors.
More than 50 Hanford workers in recent months have sought medical examinations for possible exposure to chemical vapors. Some reported smelling suspicious odors and some experienced respiratory problems. Nearly all were cleared to return to work……….
Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, work that generated a massive inventory of nuclear waste that is stored in 177 underground tanks. The site is now dedicated to cleaning up the waste, a process expected to last decades and cost billions of dollars. WRPS is a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy, which owns the Hanford site near Richland, Washington.
The union coalition had also asked management to supply air respirators for all work performed within the Hanford zones that contain steel-lined waste tanks. Some of the tanks are protected by single steel walls while newer ones have double walls.
Workers must already wear respirators while near the single-wall tanks known to emit vapors………http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/article88411777.html#storylink=cpy
Shift to Clean Energy Could Save Millions Who Die From Pollution
Reducing deadly pollution has the double benefit of quickly trimming carbon dioxide emissions, the International Energy Agency says. Inside Climate News, BY PHIL MCKENNA 27 JUNE 16
In its first report ever to examine the links between these twin goals, the authoritative International Energy Agency said the solutions go “hand-in-hand.”
With a 7 percent increase in energy-related investment, it said, the world could cut air-pollution mortality from about 6.5 million today to 3.3 million in 2040. And the changes would bring about a peak in CO2 emissions by 2020, it said.
Along with spending on pollution control equipment, the keys, it said, are energy efficiency and the use of renewables like wind and solar.
The report marks a new movement among those who favor the long-term goal of fighting global warming toward an equal and more immediate concern—protecting the health of the world…….
The IEA assessment outlines a Clean Air Scenario where an additional $4.8 trillion in pollution control technologies, renewable energy and energy efficiency measures is invested worldwide between now and 2040. The investment would include making clean cooking facilities available to an additional 1.8 billion people worldwide.
The $4.8 trillion cost represents an additional 7 percent on top of energy spending plans already announced by the world’s nations, including the pledges to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that they made under the new Paris climate treaty. (The IEA calls this baseline its “New Policies Scenario” to distinguish it from business as usual.)
The alternative Clean Air Scenario detailed in the report would result in a drop of more than 50 percent in global emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and a nearly 75 percent reduction in harmful particulate matter emissions by 2040.
Air pollution reductions would be greatest in developing countries. The 60 percent of India’s population currently exposed to air with a high concentration of fine particles would, for example, fall to less than 20 percent, according to the report.
“Implementing the IEA strategy in the Clean Air Scenario can push energy-related pollution levels into a steep decline in all countries,” Birol said.
“It can also deliver universal access to modern energy, a rapid peak and decline in global greenhouse-gas emissions and lower fossil-fuel import bills in many countries.”…….http://insideclimatenews.org/news/27062016/shift-clean-energy-could-save-climate-and-millions-who-die-air-pollution
According to a recent report, Radiation and Public Health Project researchers compared the state and national cancer data from 1988-92 with three other five-year periods (1993-97, 1998-02, and 2003-07). The results, published in 2009, show the cancer rates going from 11 percent below the national average to 7 percent above in that time span. Unexpected increases were detected in 19 out of 20 major types of cancer. Thyroid cancer registered the biggest increase, going from 13 percent below the national average to 51 percent above.
While the U.S. war machine spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year waging war against humanity, Americans at home are dying from a crumbling nuclear infrastructure. The realization that multiple nuclear disasters are currently unfolding across the country, while the mainstream media remains silent, speaks to the fact that most media is owned by the same benefactors that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.
There’s No Covering Up This One — Visible Pollution Leaking From NY Nuclear Plant, Activist Post, By Matt Agorist, 1 July 16 US Coast Guard officials have cordoned off a portion of Lake Ontario this week, after aerial spotters found a visible “sheen” that is coming from a nuclear power plant in upstate New York.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary aircrew first noticed the sheen on Sunday. Shortly after, a boat crew from the Oswego station tested the sheen and a “temporary safety zone” was put in place.
The Free Thought Project spoke to the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Command Center on Tuesday and confirmed that the zone was still closed off, and there is no information as to when it will reopen.
The oil sheen is said to be coming from the vent for the hydrogen seal system of the Fitzpatrick plant is in Scriba, New York, approximately 10 miles northeast of Oswego……..
It appears that this Fitzpatrick leak is likely the least worrisome of current leaks popping up around the country.
Although the media spotlight is rarely shined upon America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, U.S. nuclear power plants are decaying rapidly, precipitating numerous nuclear environmental disasters across the country.
To give you an idea of the scope of the crisis facing America’s aging nuclear infrastructure, a startling investigation by the Associated Press found radioactive tritium leaking from three-quarters of all commercial nuclear power sites in the United States.
As The Free Thought Project reported last month, a major nuclear disaster is unfolding in Washington state at what is known as the Hanford nuclear site. There have been reports that the Hanford has been leaking massive amounts of radioactive material for over two weeks. Continue reading
New guidelines proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would significantly increase the amount of radiation that people can ingest in the days and years following a radiological accident — levels far higher than existing limits set by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.
Watchdog groups, academics and even some EPA officials worry the change could severely compromise public health. The agency’s proposal, released in early June and open for public comment until July 25, suggests a two-tiered system to advise the public when water is too dangerous for consumption after a radiological release — an event ranging from an accident at a nuclear power plant, such as the 1979 reactor meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania, to a roadside spill of Cold War-era transuranic waste from Los Alamos to a deliberate act of terrorism. The agency has capped the proposed limits at 500 millirems per year for people over 15, and no more than 100 millirems for younger children, the elderly, and pregnant or nursing women.
The new emergency guidelines are at least 25 times higher than the current guidelines, which cap public consumption of radiation at 4 millirems per year. Opponents of the proposal say it will allow radiation exposure equivalent to 250 chest X-rays each year without medical need or consent……
The EPA proposal has significant ramifications for New Mexico, home to two nuclear weapons research laboratories and the nation’s only permanent underground repository for radioactive waste, all of which were built near underground aquifers.
New Mexico’s highways pose concerns under the new EPA proposal because truck transportation of nuclear waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad will resume if the now-shuttered underground storage facility reopens, as planned, by the year’s end. When operations restart at the waste site, which has been closed since a radiation leak in February 2014, U.S. 62-180, Interstate 25, Interstate 40 and U.S. 285 would once again be used to transport nuclear waste to WIPP from Los Alamos, as well as from out-of-state defense sites.
In the first decade of the waste plant’s opening, at least 900 trucks carrying transuranic waste traveled those roads to reach the Carlsbad facility. The New Mexico Environment Department documented 29 accidents between 2002 and 2013, though none led to a spill.
Proposals by the U.S. Energy Department show the federal government also plans to store some foreign plutonium at WIPP, after the material has been processed at a facility in South Carolina. Continue reading
Decades Later, Sickness Among Airmen After a Hydrogen Bomb Accident, NYT, by DAVE PHILIPPSJUNE 19, 2016Alarms sounded on United States Air Force bases in Spain and officers began packing all the low-ranking troops they could grab onto buses for a secret mission. There were cooks, grocery clerks and even musicians from the Air Force band.
It was a late winter night in 1966 and a fully loaded B-52 bomber on a Cold War nuclear patrol had collided with a refueling jet high over the Spanish coast, freeing four hydrogen bombs that went tumbling toward a farming village called Palomares, a patchwork of small fields and tile-roofed white houses in an out-of-the-way corner of Spain’s rugged southern coast that had changed little since Roman times.
It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”
“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”
Mr. Thompson, 72, now has cancer in his liver, a lung and a kidney. He pays $2,200 a month for treatment that would be free at a Veterans Affairs hospital if the Air Force recognized him as a victim of radiation. But for 50 years, the Air Force has maintained that there was no harmful radiation at the crash site. It says the danger of contamination was minimal and strict safety measures ensured that all of the 1,600 troops who cleaned it up were protected.
Interviews with dozens of men like Mr. Thompson and details from never before published declassified documents tell a different story. Radiation near the bombs was so high it sent the military’s monitoring equipment off the scales. Troops spent months shoveling toxic dust, wearing little more protection than cotton fatigues. And when tests taken during the cleanup suggested men had alarmingly high plutonium contamination, the Air Force threw out the results, calling them “clearly unrealistic.”
In the decades since, the Air Force has purposefully kept radiation test results out of the men’s medical files and resisted calls to retest them, even when the calls came from one of the Air Force’s own studies.
Many men say they are suffering with the crippling effects of plutonium poisoning. Of 40 veterans who helped with the cleanup who The New York Times identified, 21 had cancer. Nine had died from it. It is impossible to connect individual cancers to a single exposure to radiation. And no formal mortality study has ever been done to determine whether there is an elevated incidence of disease. The only evidence the men have to rely on are anecdotes of friends they watched wither away.
“John Young, dead of cancer … Dudley Easton, cancer … Furmanksi, cancer,” said Larry L. Slone, 76, in an interview, laboring through tremors caused by a neurological disorder.
At the crash site, Mr. Slone, a military police officer at the time, said he was given a plastic bag and told to pick up radioactive fragments with his bare hands. “A couple times they checked me with a Geiger counter and it went clear off the scale,” he said. “But they never took my name, never followed up with me.”
Monitoring of the village in Spain has also been haphazard, declassified documents show. The United States promised to pay for a public health program to monitor the long-term effects of radiation there, but for decades provided little funding. Until the 1980s, Spanish scientists often relied on broken and outdated equipment, and lacked the resources to follow up on potential ramifications, including leukemia deaths in children. Today, several fenced-off areas are still contaminated, and the long-term health effect on villagers is poorly understood.
Many of the Americans who cleaned up after the bombs are trying to get full health care coverage and disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs. But the department relies on Air Force records, and since the Air Force records say no one was harmed in Palomares, the agency rejects claims again and again.
The Air Force also denies any harm was done to 500 other veterans who cleaned up a nearly identical crash in Thule, Greenland, in 1968. Those veterans tried to sue the Defense Department in 1995, but the case was dismissed because federal law shields the military from negligence claims by troops. All of the named plaintiffs have since died of cancer…….
“First they denied I was even there, then they denied there was any radiation,” said Ronald R. Howell, 71, who recently had a brain tumor removed. “I submit a claim, and they deny. I submit appeal, and they deny. Now I’m all out of appeals.” He sighed, then continued. “Pretty soon, we’ll all be dead and they will have succeeded at covering this whole thing up.”……
The Pentagon focused on finding the bomb lost in the ocean and largely ignored the danger of loose plutonium, the Air Force personnel at the site said. Troops traipsed needlessly through highly contaminated tomato fields with no safety gear. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/us/decades-later-sickness-among-airmen-after-a-hydrogen-bomb-accident.html
Decades Later, Sickness Among Airmen After a Hydrogen Bomb Accident, NYT, by DAVE PHILIPPS JUNE 19, 2016 “……….Spain’s Monitoring
The United States promised to pay for long-term monitoring of health in the village, but for decades it provided only about 15 percent of funding, with Spain paying the rest, according to a declassified Department of Energy summary. Broken air-monitoring stations went unfixed and equipment was often old and unreliable. In the early 1970s, an Atomic Energy Commission scientist noted, the Spanish field monitoring team consisted of a lone graduate student.
Reports of two children dying of leukemia during that time went uninvestigated. The lead Spanish scientist monitoring the population told American counterparts in a 1976 memo that, in light of the leukemia cases, Palomares needed “some kind of medical surveillance of the population to keep watch for diseases or deaths.” None was created.
In the late 1990s, after years of pressure from Spain, the United States agreed to increase funding. New surveys of the village found extensive contamination that had gone undetected, including some areas where radiation was 20 times the permissible level for inhabited areas. In 2004, Spain quietly fenced off the most contaminated land near the bomb craters.
Since then, Spain has urged the United States to finish cleaning the site.
Because of the uneven monitoring, the effect on public health is far from clear. A small mortality study in 2005 found cancer rates had gone up in the village compared with similar villages in the region, but the author, Pedro Antonio Martínez Pinilla, an epidemiologist, cautioned that the results could be because of random error, and urged more study.
At that time, a United States Department of Energy scientist, Terry Hamilton, proposed another study, noting problems in Spain’s monitoring techniques. “It was clear the uptake of plutonium was poorly understood,” he said in an interview. The department did not approve his proposal…..
About a fifth of the plutonium spread in 1966 is still estimated to contaminate the area. After years of pressure, the United States agreed in 2015 to clean up the remaining plutonium, but there is no approved plan or timetable…….http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/us/decades-later-sickness-among-airmen-after-a-hydrogen-bomb-accident.html
Decades Later, Sickness Among Airmen After a Hydrogen Bomb Accident, NYT, by DAVE PHILIPPSJUNE 19, 2016 “….. Tests Thrown Out During the cleanup, a medical team gathered more than 1,500 urine samples from the cleanup crew to calculate how much plutonium they were absorbing. The higher the level in the samples, the greater the health hazard.
The records of those tests remain perhaps the most prominent artifact from the cleanup. They show about only 10 of the men absorbed more than the allowed safe dose, and the rest of the 1,500 responders were not harmed. The Air Force today relies on the results to argue that the men were never harmed by radiation. But the men who actually did the testing say the results are deeply flawed and are of little use in determining who was exposed.
“Did we follow protocol? Hell, no. We had neither the time nor the equipment,” said Victor B. Skaar, now 79, who worked on the testing team. The formula for determining the contamination level required collecting urine for 12 hours, but he said he was able to get only a single sample from many men. And others, he said, were never tested at all.
He sent samples to the Air Force’s chief of radiation testing, Dr. Lawrence T. Odland, who started seeing alarmingly high results. Dr. Odland decided the extreme levels did not indicate a true health threat, but were caused by plutonium loose in the camp that contaminated the men’s hands, their clothes and everything else. He threw out about 1,000 samples — 67 percent of the results — including all samples from the first days after the blasts when exposure was probably highest.
Now 94 and living in a rambling Victorian house in Hillsboro, Ohio, where a photo from the Greenland crash hangs in his hall, Dr. Odland questioned his decision.
“We had no way of knowing what was from contamination and what was from inhalation,” he said. “Was the world ending or was everything fine? I just had to make a call.”
He said he never got accurate results for hundreds of men who may have been contaminated. In addition, he soon realized plutonium lodged in the lungs could not always be detected in veterans’ urine, and men with clean samples might still be contaminated.
“It’s sad, sure, it’s sad,” he said. “But what can you do? You can’t take the plutonium out; you can’t cure the cancer. All you can do is bow your head and say you are sorry.”
Monitoring Program Killed
Convinced that the urine samples were inadequate, Dr. Odland persuaded the Air Force in 1966 to set up a permanent “Plutonium Deposition Registry Board” to monitor the men for life.
Experts from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) and Atomic Energy Commission met to establish the program shortly after the cleanup. In welcoming remarks, the Air Force general in charge said the program was “essential” and following the men to their graves would provide “urgently needed data.”
The organizers proposed not notifying troops of their radiation exposure and keeping details of testing out of medical records, according to minutes of the meeting, out of concern notifying them could “set a stage for legal action.”
The plan was to have Dr. Odland’s staff follow the men. Within months, though, he had hit a wall.
“He is not able to get the support from the Department of Defense to go after the remaining people or set up a real registry because of the sleeping-dog policy,” an Atomic Energy Commission memo from 1967 noted.
“The sleeping dog policy? It was to leave it alone. Let it lie. I didn’t agree. Hell no, I didn’t agree,” Dr. Odland said. “Everyone decided we should watch these guys, take care of them. And then from somewhere up high they decided it was better to get rid of it.”
Dr. Odland did not know who gave the order to terminate the program, but said since the board included all the military branches and the veterans agency, it likely came from top-level officials.
The Air Force officially dismantled the program in 1968. The “permanent” board had met just once…….. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/us/decades-later-sickness-among-airmen-after-a-hydrogen-bomb-accident.html
The authors conclude that it is likely that radiation exposure from Chernobyl has affected residents of countries much further afield than Belarus and Ukraine including Belgium, potentially increasing the incidence of thyroid cancer in those exposed as children over the last 30 years.
Chernobyl radiation could be linked to rising number of thyroid cancers in Belgian children https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607080653.htm Source:Taylor & Francis
- Exposure to radioactive fallout from the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Belgium may have increased the incidence of thyroid cancer in those exposed as children.
- Exposure to radioactive fallout from the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Belgium may have increased the incidence of thyroid cancer in those exposed as children, according to new research published in the journal Acta Chirurgica Belgica.
Thyroid cancer is usually rare among children, with less than one new case per million diagnosed each year. However, after the Chernobyl accident a striking increase in the disease was reported in children and teenagers in the most contaminated areas of Belarus and Ukraine. Now, this new research from Belgium suggests countries further afield were also affected.
Prior to April 1986, surgeons at Mont-Godinne University Hospital, Yvoir, Belgium had seen no cases of thyroid cancer in children. But in 1995, surgeon Luc Michel and colleagues treated four cases of papillary thyroid cancer in patients who were younger than 9 years old at the time of Chernobyl and operated on a further five patients between 2000 and 2002 aged under 12 at the time of the accident.
To examine whether this disturbing trend could be due to exposure to radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, the surgical team collected information on the number of new cases of papillary thyroid cancer in all patients born before April 1986 who were operated on at the hospital for any type of thyroid lesion between April 1986 and April 2015. They also obtained data from a classified Belgian Royal Institute of Meteorology (BRIM) report which revealed that in early May 1986 the average level of atmospheric radioactivity in Belgium rose to twenty times higher than normal, from 3.2 Bq.m-3 to over 70 Bq.m-3 .
36 new cases (19.5%) of papillary thyroid cancer were found among 185 Belgian children aged under 15 at the time of the accident, compared with just 175 cases (8.1%) in 2164 patients aged older than 15 years.
Numerous studies have shown that exposure to certain types of radiation increase the incidence of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents. The authors conclude that it is likely that radiation exposure from Chernobyl has affected residents of countries much further afield than Belarus and Ukraine including Belgium, potentially increasing the incidence of thyroid cancer in those exposed as children over the last 30 years. However, they caution that it is not clear whether these cases reflect an increased incidence in the Belgian population as a whole.
- Luc A. Michel, Julian Donckier, Alain Rosière, Caroline Fervaille, Julien Lemaire, Claude Bertrand. Post-Chernobyl incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among Belgian children less than 15 years of age in April 1986: a 30-year surgical experience. Acta Chirurgica Belgica, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1080/00015458.2016.1165528
Spike in number of US sailors dying after Fukushima radiation exposure — Now over 400 veterans suffering serious illnesses — Former Japan Prime Minister breaks down crying, “This can’t be ignored any longer… The number of sick people is increasing and their symptoms are worsening” (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/spike-number-sailors-dying-after-fukushima-radiation-exposure-400-veterans-suffering-serious-illnesses-former-japan-prime-minister-breaks-down-crying-be-ignored-longer-number-sick-people-increas?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Kyodo, May 19, 2016: Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has thrown his support behind a group of former U.S. sailors suing the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant… Speaking at a news conference Tuesday in Carlsbad, California, with some of the plaintiffs, Koizumi said, “Those who gave their all to assist Japan are now suffering from serious illness… I learned that the number of sick people is still increasing, and their symptoms are worsening,” he told the news conference… According to lawyers for the group, seven of its members have died so far, including some from leukemia [Three deaths had been reported as of last July].
Asahi Shimbun, May 19, 2016: Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi broke down in tears as he made an emotional plea of support for U.S. Navy sailors beset by health problems… More than 400 veterans who were part of a mission called Operation Tomodachi… filed a mass lawsuit in California against [TEPCO]. They are seeking compensation and an explanation for theirhealth problems… Koizumi said: “U.S. military personnel who did their utmost in providing relief are now suffering from serious illnesses. We cannot ignore the situation.” Apparently overcome with emotion, Koizumi started crying… Theodore Holcomb [was] diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He died in 2014 at age 35. TheDepartment of Veterans Affairs later cut off a study into the causal relationship between his exposure to radiation and his illness… Ron Wright, 26, worked on the deck [and] developed a swelling of the testicles and underwent surgery four times… A military doctor told him there was no relationship between his illness and exposure to radiation.
CBS San Diego, May 18, 2016: Sick sailors meet with Japan’s former prime minister… The USS Reagan sailed through a nuclear plume and crews had to spend hours decontaminating the vessel. Sailors now say they are suffering from radiation exposure. “Honestly, I just want to feel better,” said Chad Holt, who served on the USS Ronald Reagan… “A lot of people, they can’t physically see something wrong with you. They think there is nothing wrong with you. That is not the case what we are living with on a daily basis,” said Daniel Hair, who is now retired from the Navy… “I realized this is something that can’t be skipped over, can’t be ignored any longer. The three claims of being safe, cheap and clean were all lies,” [Koizumi] said.
NBC San Diego, May 18, 2016: Many of the sailors say doctors refused to connect their illnesses with the radiation exposure. “You have to experience it,” said William Zeller. “You have to experience the doctor telling you to your face. You have to experience the years of pain when everyone tells you ‘You know you’re fine.’”… “I realize this is not something that can be just skipped over and can’t be ignored any longer,” [Koizumi] said. “Everyone played a role in not shedding more light on this problem…” Koizumi said… The sailors’ attorney said they have won their case against Tokyo Electric Power Company twice, however the company has appealed the judge’s decisions. It is still unclear how exactly the sailors will be compensated…
San Diego Union Tribune, May 17, 2016: Koizumi [said] he believes the service members’ illnesses, reported to include leukemia and tumors, were caused by the 2011 exposure, despite U.S. government findings to the contrary… Koizumi said the Japanese government and [TEPCO] should support the radiation-exposed U.S troops financially and “across the board.”
Hanford continues to mislead workers about toxic vapors K5, Susannah Frame, KING June 08, 2016 After a 33 year career at Hanford working in the tank farms, Abe Garza of Richland is off the job and he’ll never work again. He has permanent lung damage and brain damage from exposure to toxic chemical vapors at the jobsite. On some days the gasping for air and coughing is so violent he passes out.
“It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest,” said Garza.
The damage to his brain has left him unable to drive and remember simple tasks. Once an avid reader of classic novels and books on mathematics, it’s now difficult for Garza to read any kind of material. According to his wife, the chemical exposures have turned their lives upside down.
“(It’s) devastate our lives,” said Garza’s wife, Bertolla Bugarin.
Garza is one of an unknown number of current and former Hanford workers who suffer debilitating health effects because of a decades old problem of chemical vapors venting from underground nuclear waste tanks at the former plutonium production facility. Since April 28, 51 workers, a record number, have suspected they’ve been exposed to vapors. Some are still too sick to return to work, mostly due to breathing problems.
Despite findings by doctors that workers such as Abe Garza are sick as a direct result of exposure to chemical vapors, top managers from the U.S. Dept. of Energy, which owns Hanford, and its contractor in charge of the tank farms, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), report their testing of the airspace after exposures always shows very small amounts of chemical concentrations.
“Air samples taken yesterday in two areas where odors were reported indicated chemical concentrations well below regulatory standards,” said WRPS spokesperson Rob Roxburgh in a statement on May 5, 2016 after nine people went to the onsite medical clinic due to suspected exposures in two separate locations.
This has been the message from management to the workforce for decades at Hanford. In his 33 year career, Garza said he was consistently reassured in trainings that chemical vapors were in control at the site and always measured at acceptable levels. He said the chemical hazard trainers never mentioned readings of chemical concentrations measured at unsafe levels.
“I’ve never heard anybody say anything about that,” said Garza. “When they tell you what’s safe you would think that that’s (the truth).”
Records obtained by KING 5 show dozens of readings over the years show measurements far above acceptable levels. Some examples include: mercury, which can cause brain damage, measured in 2009 at 473 percent above occupational limits. Also in 2009, furan, a carcinogen, measured at 3145 percent above occupational limits. Ammonia, which can cause glaucoma and lung damage, was measured at more than 1800 percent above the limit. A known cancer-causing chemical called nitrosodimethylamine was recorded at 13,000 percent above the legal limits in 2005.
And on October 21, 2015 in what is known as the C-Farm of underground tanks, routine sampling found emissions “above (the) action level”, which prompted managers to “access restriction” they deemed as necessary “to prevent worker exposure to an uncharacterized chemical hazard.”
Garza and Bugarin said they feel betrayed information like this was never passed along to the workforce. The data is important they said because in many areas at Hanford it is up to the employees to choose what type of personal protective equipment they will wear on a given day.
“I’m most mad about Hanford lying to the employees that it is not dangerous out there. And that they are safe. That’s what I am most made about,” said Bugarin. “It’s a lie. It’s impossible for that to be. It’s scientifically impossible to have normal levels all the time. You’re in the most toxic site in the United States. It’s almost as insult to anybody with (any) intelligence.”……“If it were up to me, I would probably prosecute if I could the people that are allowing this, which is upper management or Washington River Protection (Solutions). Somebody needs to be held accountable at whatever level to stop this,” said Bugarin.
On June 1 KING 5 wrote to representatives of the US Dept. of Energy and Washington River Protection Solutions for comment on this story. Questions were submitted via email regarding dimethylmercury, including an inquiry into why the contractor was no longer testing for it. No one responded to the email. http://www.king5.com/news/local/hanford-continues-to-mislead-workers-about-toxic-vapors/236432342
EPA Pushing Hike in Radioactive Contamination in Drinking Water http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/news/200/epa-pushing-hike-in-drinking-water-radioactivity/ By Editor June 7th, 2016
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled a plan allowing radioactive contamination in drinking water at concentrations vastly greater than the levels permitted by the Safe Drinking Water Act for long periods following release of nuclear materials.
The new guidance would permit radiation exposures equivalent to 250 chest X-rays a year for the general population for an unlimited time period.
EPA’s “Protective Action Guides” (or PAGs) dramatically relax allowable doses of radioactive material in public drinking water following a Fukushima-type meltdown or “dirty bomb” attack.
They cover the “intermediate phase” after “releases have been brought under control” – an unspecified period that may last for weeks, months or even years.
The agency has declared that the strict limits for chemical exposure in the Safe Drinking Water Act “may not be appropriate…during a radiation incident.”
EPA states that it “expects that the responsible party…will take action to return to compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act maximum contaminant levels as soon as practicable” but during the indefinite meantime –
The general population may be exposed to radioactive iodine-131 at 10,350 pico-curies per liter of water.
By contrast, the current limit is 3, resulting in a 3,450-times increase; The current strontium-90 limit of 8 pico-curies per liter would be allowed a 925-fold increase; and
In an attempt to shield “sensitive populations,” the plan proposes 500 millirem per year for the general population but only 100 millirem for children under 15, pregnant or nursing mothers without explaining how these latter groups will get access to less contaminated water.
“Given this monstrous proposal, it unclear what lessons EPA learned from the contaminated water calamity of Flint, Michigan,” said. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) executive director Jeff Ruch. “It is unfathomable that a public health agency would prescribe subjecting people to radioactive concentrations a thousand times above Safe Drinking Water Act limits as a ‘protective’ measure.”
Internal EPA documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by PEER show that EPA itself concluded that proposed concentrations “would exceed MCLs [Maximum Contaminant Limits of the Safe Drinking Water Act] by a factor of 100, 1000, and in two instances, 7 million.”
The internal analysis estimated for one radionuclide that drinking only one small glass of water “would result in an exposure that corresponds to a lifetime of drinking liters of water per day at the MCL level.”
The Bush Administration in its last days unsuccessfully tried to put forward similar proposals, which the incoming Obama Administration pulled back.
Now, in the waning months of the Obama Administration, those plans are moving forward with new exposure limits higher than the Bush plan it had rejected.
“President Obama goes to Hiroshima to urge a nuclear-free world while his EPA facilitates a nuclear-ridden water supply,” added Ruch. “It speaks volumes that the current Obama drinking water plan is less protective than his predecessor’s.”
Just moms” have become a surprisingly powerful force, successfully lobbying the state health department to challenge some of the federal government’s findings that downplayed the site’s risks,
Just Moms continue to rally the public to demand tests from the state. The women also took trips, uninvited, to the state offices and asked for meetings so they explain why they believed the nuclear waste posed a threat. The aggressive community lobbying appeared to pay off: the state health department agreed to test the site for evidence that the radioactive waste has spread, and late last year, the Missouri State Attorney general finally released the findings. Among the disturbing conclusions: possible radioactive waste has in fact been found “off site” in the nearby foliage. What’s more, groundwater wells outside the perimeter of the landfill were found to be contaminated with carcinogens like benzene in “high concentrations,” the state said
Community reacts to STL County’s emergency plan for looming #WestLakeLandfill disaster
Community reacts to STL County’s emergency plan for looming #WestLakeLandfill disaster Two Stay-at-Home Moms Are Waging War Against the Feds Over Illegal Toxic Waste Broadly, by Amy Martyn JUN 1 2016 https://twitter.com/justmomsstl
What do you do when there’s 10,000 barrels of illegally dumped uranium two miles away from your home and the government tells you not to worry about it?
Dawn Chapman and her family are stuck in an absurd and depressing situation: Less than two miles from the Chapmans’ neighborhood in Bridgeton, Missouri, sits a landfill where radioactive uranium was illegally dumped by a government contractor forty years ago. Since the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to warn people of such things, most people in the area—including many elected officials—knew nothing about the dump for decades.
“It would be great to be able to leave this area, but we couldn’t honestly sell our house right now, ” Chapman says. “Even ethically, with what’s going on, I wouldn’t want to sell my house to another family.”
Karen Nickel learned about the dump site during a town hall with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps have successfully removed illegally dumped nuclear waste from other sites across the nation but because this particular site, West Lake Landfill, is under the control of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Corps does not have the authority or funding to conduct a clean-up here. Nickel and other mothers are fearful about what health problem such close proximity to radioactive waste could cause their children. “A lot of their children are coming forward with cancers and such, a couple of my daughter’s friends have brain tumors,” Nickel says……
In the past four years, the “Just moms” have become a surprisingly powerful force, successfully lobbying the state health department to challenge some of the federal government’s findings that downplayed the site’s risks, revealing possible inconsistencies in public statements made by the EPA, and pissing off both the EPA and landfill operator Republic Services. Ed Smith, the policy director for the non-profit Missouri Coalition for the Environment is an admirer of the women. “There’s a lot those moms have done that wouldn’t have been done otherwise,” he says.
The first major success for Just Moms came when Karen and Dawn sniffed a foul odor in their neighborhood. The landfill owners told them that it was due to a “smoldering event,” created by underground gasses that can ignite some of the landfill garbage. The landfill, the moms were told, was in it’s third year of a sustained underground trash smolder, something that’s common among underground landfills—but landfills are typically not next to tons of uranium. Nevertheless, officials assured the moms that a limestone wall between the uranium and the trash would keep the fire from reaching the toxic materials. There were two landfills, the operators insisted: one for nuclear waste, one for trash……….
Chapman and Nickel countered the paid lobbyists with their own attack. For one week in 2014, they focused their sites on United States Congressman Roy Blunt, their federal representative who had previously been publicly silent about the landfill. From their Facebook page:
“EVERY DAY from 8am-4pm please call his WASHINGTON DC office. Make it a part of your daily routine!!!!,” the moms urged supporters in an online post. “Emails are good, but 2,000 phone calls everyday will make a bigger impact!!!”
The effort worked……..
Just Moms continue to rally the public to demand tests from the state. The women also took trips, uninvited, to the state offices and asked for meetings so they explain why they believed the nuclear waste posed a threat. The aggressive community lobbying appeared to pay off: the state health department agreed to test the site for evidence that the radioactive waste has spread, and late last year, the Missouri State Attorney general finally released the findings. Among the disturbing conclusions: possible radioactive waste has in fact been found “off site” in the nearby foliage. What’s more, groundwater wells outside the perimeter of the landfill were found to be contaminated with carcinogens like benzene in “high concentrations,” the state said…….. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/two-stay-at-home-moms-are-waging-war-against-the-feds-over-illegal-toxic-waste
“Game-Changing” Study Links Cellphone Radiation to Cancer An increased incidence of brain and heart tumors was seen in rats. Mother Jones, released on Thursday, suggest that radio-frequency (RF) radiation, the type emitted by cellphones, can cause cancer.MAY 27, 2016 It’s the moment we’ve all been dreading. Initial findings from a massive federal study,
The findings from a $25 million study, conducted over two and a half years by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), showed that male rats exposed to two types of RF radiation were significantly more likely than unexposed rats to develop a type of brain cancer called a glioma, and also had a higher chance of developing the rare, malignant form of tumor known as a schwannoma of the heart. The effect was not seen in females.
he radiation level the rats received was “not very different” from what humans are exposed to when they use cellphones, said Chris Portier, a former associate director of the NTP who commissioned the study.
As the intensity of the radiation increased, so did the incidence of cancer in the rats. (The highest radiation level was five to seven times as strong as what humans typically receive while using a phone.) Although ionizing radiation, which includes gamma rays and X-rays, is widely accepted as a carcinogen, the wireless industry has long noted that there is no known mechanism by which RF radiation causes cancer. The researchers wrote that the results “appear to support” the conclusion that RF radiation may indeed be carcinogenic.
The findings should be a wake-up call for the scientific establishment, according to Portier, who is now a contributing scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. “I think this is a game changer,” he said. “We seriously have to look at this issue again in considerable detail.”
“The NTP does the best animal bioassays in the word,” Portier added. “Their reputation is stellar. So if they are telling us this was positive in this study, that’s a concern.”…….
The NTP first decided to investigate the carcinogenicity of cellphone radiation in 2001, partly in response to epidemiological studies showing a correlation between gliomas and cellphone use. Some of the studies even showed that the cancers were ipsilateral—meaning they tended to appear on the same side of the head where users held their phones. But other epidemiological studies haven’t found links between cancer and cellphones…….
Only the test results for rats have been released so far. Female rats didn’t experience significantly higher than normal cancer rates. However, among male rats that received the highest radiation exposures, 2 percent to 3 percent contracted gliomas and 6 percent to 7 percent percent developed schwannoma tumors in their hearts, depending on the type of radiation used. None of the male rats in the control groups developed those cancers……..
The authors of the NTP study did not say how their results might translate into cancer risk for humans. But “given the extremely large number of people who use wireless communication devices,” they wrote, “even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to RFR resulting from those devices could have broad implications for public health.”……http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/05/federal-study-links-cell-phone-radiation-cancer
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