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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

France: Public consultation on the draft decree on protection against the dangers of ionizing radiation  

Sean Arclight   Hervé Courtois   CRIIRAD calls to mobilize against the adoption of very high reference levels
to manage nuclear accidents and their consequences.

The French authorities are preparing to establish the zones management criteria contaminated following a nuclear accident (or after an attack affecting a nuclear installation). What level of radiation exposure, and thus risk, will be taken in reference to decide whether or not to hire a particular action to protect the population? Very concretely: to what level of risk you will be condemned to live in contaminated areas? At what level of risk can you expect to be compensated and rehoused in a healthy environment?

The French authorities have retained the levels of effective dose as high as possible: 100 mSv for the accident phase and 20 mSv / year for accidental post phase (while for the public, the maximum dose limit is typically 1 mSv / year and that this value is already at a high level of risk). More limitations are high, lower are the expenses related to the protection and compensation for damage. This choice is unfortunately consistent with the capping of compensation for victims of a major nuclear accident. Nuclear power is exempted from the application of the polluter pays principle: they are the victims who bear the health and economic consequences of the disaster.

This decision does not just happen. It is the fruit of 20 years of efforts of the nuclear lobby, and specifically the French nuclear lobby via the Trojan horse, the FNEC (1). The key idea is to convince people that can be done entirely live in contaminated areas. Just a bit of training and equipment to control their environment, food. These experts have just “forgot” the central problem of the deteriorating health status of people, especially children.

If you are shocked by the image of the Japanese children wear around their necks a dosimeter as a pendant, if it is not the future you want for your children, act!
1. Study Centre on the Protection of the evaluation in the field Nuclear: an association with 4 members (EDF, AREVA, CEA and IRSN) and has widely infiltrated the national and international decision-making and including the ICRP (Jacques Lochard, Director of the FNEC, is now vice chairman of the main committee)

The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Marine has launched a consultation on the draft decree on the Directive 2013/59. Remember that France must transpose the Directive into French law by January 2018. This consultation is an opportunity to denounce the proposals which we find unacceptable and show already our requirements. We later learned of this consultation will end on 30 September.
Take part in the public consultation
and say NO to the obligation to live in contaminated areas!

> Learn more
> How to participate in the public consultation?

The Directive covers many topics which will be discussed further. Other actions will be implemented in the coming weeks. We already rely on your help to relay! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

September 23, 2016 Posted by | France, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Media censors coverage of depleted uranium’s use, and its devastating effects on health

Fallujah-babyDeadly Radioactive Dust and Dying Children: US-NATO Use of Depleted Uranium (DU) Ammunition http://www.globalresearch.ca/deadly-radioactive-dust-and-dying-children-us-nato-use-of-depleted-uranium-du-ammunition/5545973

Award-Winning Filmmaker Shunned for Exposing the Truth The fate of Frieder Wagner is a peculiar example of what happens when you stand up to the establishment’s injustice. A notable director who won the prestigious German Grimme Award, responsible for numerous documentaries for the ARD and ZDF channels, he quickly became a pariah after making a movie called Deadly Dust (Todesstaub) about the use of depleted uranium (DU) shells by NATO forces in the Middle East and in the former Yugoslavia.

In an exclusive interview with Sputnik, Wagner explained that Deadly Dust is based on an earlier documentary called The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra) that he filmed for WDR. In April 2004 the movie was screened during the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. But even though that autumn it received the ÖkoMedia award, it was never screened again. And no matter what ideas he came up with, the TV channels that he previously worked with stopped sending him new orders for some reason.

“I contacted a head of the WDR editorial office whom I’d worked with before and asked him what happened. He paused for a second and then told me “The WDR editorial office considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you”,” Wagner explained.

He added that about a year ago he met with Siegesmund von Ilsemann, an editor at Spiegel magazine who wrote a comprehensive report about the ‘deadly dust’ and its effects, and who revealed to the astonished director that the use of depleted uranium by the military literally became a taboo subject in Germany.

“He told me that the issue of DU munitions use and its consequences became taboo in Germany. And no TV channel or newspaper would allow even him – a person who worked on this subject for a long time – to publish anything related to it,” Wagner added.

DU shells are made of byproducts of uranium enrichment. Their superior armor-piercing capabilities make them a potent anti-tank weapon, especially considering that when an armored vehicle gets hit by such a shell, the impact and subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite, incinerating the target’s interior. But it’s the ‘deadly dust’ produced by a DU shell detonation that is probably the most insidious aspect of this type of ordnance.

“At such a high temperature the substance – depleted uranium – burns down to nano-particles, each of them a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell. And due to their extremely small size, these particles ‘travel’ through a human body, infiltrating brain, lungs, kidneys, placenta, bloodstream and even sperm and egg cells which causes severe developmental diseases in newborns,” Wagner said.

According to him, US forces actively used DU munitions in Kosovo, Somalia, Libya and during both Iraqi campaigns, not to mention that they keep using them in Afghanistan up to this day.

“I’ve travelled to Iraq and Kosovo myself. We collected soil, water and tissue samples. All tissue samples contained depleted uranium particles, and even worse, they contained the so called uranium-236 which can only be produced artificially,” he said.

He also pointed out that the families of 16 out of 109 Italian soldiers who died of cancer sued the Italian government. During the trials, which the plaintiffs won, it was established that the fatal disease in all cases was caused by the use of DU munitions in Iraq and Kosovo.

And yet, much to Wagner’s surprise, no global wave of outrage spearheaded by the UN, Amnesty International and similar organizations took place over these developments.

“It should’ve happened a long time ago. In 2001 in Germany and in many other European nations the press wrote a lot about the first deaths among the Spanish and Portuguese soldiers in Kosovo. The then-Defense Minister of Germany Rudolf Scharping nearly lost his position. But then NATO and the UN decreed that this topic must be removed from the media – and they succeeded,” Wagner surmised.

September 19, 2016 Posted by | children, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Australia’s secret shame – the Maralinga nuclear bomb tests

This March, documents obtained exclusively by news.com.au revealed that hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.

Other veterans posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site blamed the British Nuclear Test for an unusually high number of stillbirths and miscarriages among the group.

“The rest of the Aboriginal people in this country need to know the story as well,”    “This one’s been kept very quiet.”

Nuclear will be on show at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia from 17 September to 12 November.

Book Maralinga Anangu StoryThe secret destruction of Australia’s Hiroshima,  http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/the-secret-destruction-of-australias-hiroshima/news-story/9eabf722dbe2f87e03a297c2a348a8e1  news.com.au, SEPTEMBER 17, 2016 WHEN nuclear explosions tore through Australia’s vast, arid centre, some people living there didn’t even know it was coming.

It devastated the country for miles around, annihilating every bird, tree and animal in its path.

Even today, the effects of our very own Hiroshima are still felt by the families it ripped apart, and those suffering horrific health problems as a result.

The British military detonated seven nuclear bombs in remote Maralinga, around 800km north-west of Adelaide, plus two at Emu Fields and three off the coast near Karratha, Western Australia.

They also staged hundreds of minor trials investigating the impact of non-nuclear explosions on atomic weapons, involving tanks, gun, mannequins in uniforms and even tethered goats. In many ways, these smaller tests were equally dangerous, spraying plutonium in all directions.

Yet most Australians know very little about the blasts that shattered communities, and the dramatic story now buried under layers of dust.

Archie Barton was just a child when the nuclear testing took place between 1956 and 1963, stretching across a huge now uninhabitable 120km of land where he and thousands of others lived.

“He was taken away from his mother,” his stepson Steve Harrison tells news.com.au. “He was part of the Stolen Generations. He grew up in homes around Australia, and led a very rough life.

“Before my mum, he was a full-blown alcoholic. He wanted to go back to his birthplace.

 “With his brother, he fought a battle with the British government to come back to clean up the area.

“He came into my life at a very young age. I was 14. I knew him as a strong, proud Aboriginal black man. He ended up getting an OBE.”

‘CHEAP AND NASTY SOLUTION’

Mr Barton’s family was not the only one scattered by the bombs. Many walked for days or even weeks to find new homes, deliberately going barefoot so their relatives could follow behind. British soldiers repeatedly turned them back south when they tried to head north.

Unsurprisingly, many never found each other.

“They were dispersed pretty much to the four points of the compass,” said Paul Brown, creative director of new showcase Nuclear, featuring Mr Harrison’s artwork. “It represented a massive dislocation from the watering holes and places that were important to Aboriginal people.

“If Aboriginal people weren’t caught up in the blast, it was by sheer luck, not design.

“People were very close at the time of the blast, they even had to take people into the decontamination area to scrub them down.”

Decades later, 57-year-old Mr Harrison’s village still isn’t a safe place for humans to live, despite numerous attempts to decontaminate the area, in 1967, 1985 and the late 1990s.

Ian Anderson’s 1993 New Scientist article “Britain’s dirty deeds at Maralinga” exposed negotiations between the UK and Australia to dispose of toxic plutonium that had been lightly covered with soil instead of being buried in concrete bunkers.

And as recently as 2007, nuclear engineer Alan Parkinson claimed the latest $100 million clean-up was a “cheap and nasty solution”.

IT RUINED QUITE A LOT OF LIVES’

The Anandu people fled to Oak Valley, Yalata, Renmark and almost anywhere between Kalgoorlie in WA and Adelaide.

Torn from family members and their homes, indigenous communities saw the consequences travel down the generations. Alcoholism is one of the biggest problems, along with drugs, crime, homelessness and lack of acceptance from new towns where these displaced people live on the fringes.

The Royal Commission found evidence of terrible disabilities caused by likely radiation impacts on both veterans and Aboriginal communities.

This March, documents obtained exclusively by news.com.au revealed that hundreds of children and grandchildren of veterans exposed to radiation were born with shocking illnesses including tumours, Down syndrome, cleft palates, cerebral palsy, autism, missing bones and heart disease.

Other veterans posted to the Maralinga nuclear test site blamed the British Nuclear Test for an unusually high number of stillbirths and miscarriages among the group.

A 2008 Department of Veterans’ Affairs study reported that the doses to Australians were small, with a spokesman tellingnews.com.au that studies into the descendants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs survivors showed they “do not have an increased frequency of chromosome abnormalities or major birth defects.”

Yet a 1999 study for the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association found that 30 per cent of involved veterans had died from cancer, mainly in their 50s.

Troops flew through mushroom clouds from explosions without protection and marched to ground zero immediately after bomb detonation. Airborne drifts of radioactive material resulted in “radioactive rain” being dropped on Brisbane and Queensland country areas.

“When they created this problem, they didn’t picture it at the end,” says Mr Harrison. “People are fighting for their existence.

“We can go back, but cannot go back and live there. It’s ruined quite a lot of lives.

“I see people who’ve been taken away coming back trying to reconnect with family. Most now live in Yalata on the Nullabor Plains.

“It was so sad, so hard. You need to grow up with family from a young age. Now they’re telling people they’ve got to leave communities in the Northern Territory, they’re closing down a lot of these communities.”

THIS ONE’S BEEN KEPT QUIET’

The Maralinga bombs were set off in a way that officially satisfied safe firing requirements. The detonations were even celebrated as a “great success” in The Advertiser.

But Mr Brown says there is evidence the military was “deliberately misleading the public about the likely impact.”

Britain’s Parliament last year issued a statement of recognition and set up a benevolent fund for veterans who took part in the nuclear tests.

Mr Brown hopes his exhibition, 60 years on from the blasts, will show that these are not simply stories about victims. “Often people have gone on the front foot,” he said. “In Japan, the Hibakusha are world leaders in the peace movement. They’ve taken it upon themselves to campaign for disarmament and world peace.”

Mr Harrison, who has visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors in Japan and presented them with a sculpture, says his main concern is making sure Australians know what happened in their own country.

“The rest of the Aboriginal people in this country need to know the story as well,” he added.

“This one’s been kept very quiet.”

Nuclear will be on show at the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia from 17 September to 12 November.

September 17, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, health, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mutational signatures of ionizing radiation in second malignancies

This article is important, and should be seen by as many people as possible, as this scientific study will impact greatly the future of our anti-nuclear cause.
By establishing the genetic signatures of any cancer caused by ionizing radiation, any future denial from the nuclear lobby is now impossible. Those scientifically established signatures will also be extremely helpful in court for any future suit from radiation victims.

Abstract

Ionizing radiation is a potent carcinogen, inducing cancer through DNA damage. The signatures of mutations arising in human tissues following in vivo exposure to ionizing radiation have not been documented. Here, we searched for signatures of ionizing radiation in 12 radiation-associated second malignancies of different tumour types. Two signatures of somatic mutation characterize ionizing radiation exposure irrespective of tumour type. Compared with 319 radiation-naive tumours, radiation-associated tumours carry a median extra 201 deletions genome-wide, sized 1–100 base pairs often with microhomology at the junction. Unlike deletions of radiation-naive tumours, these show no variation in density across the genome or correlation with sequence context, replication timing or chromatin structure. Furthermore, we observe a significant increase in balanced inversions in radiation-associated tumours. Both small deletions and inversions generate driver mutations. Thus, ionizing radiation generates distinctive mutational signatures that explain its carcinogenic potential.

signatures-12-sept-2016-1

 

signatures-12-sept-2016

 

signatures-12-sept-2016-3

 

Introduction

Exposure to ionizing radiation increases the risk of subsequent cancer. This risk exhibits a strong dose–response relationship, and there appear to be no safe limits for radiation exposure1. This association was first noted by March who observed an increased incidence of leukaemia amongst radiologists2. A leading cause of radiation-induced cancers appears to be exposure to medical radiation, either in the form of radiotherapy for an unrelated malignancy3 or diagnostic radiography4, 5. These iatrogenic tumours arise as de novo neoplasms in a field of therapeutic radiation after a latency period that can span decades6, and are not recurrences of the original cancer7.

Many, but not all, environmental carcinogens induce cancer by increasing the rate of mutation in somatic cells. The physicochemical properties of a given carcinogen govern its interaction with DNA, leading to recurrent ‘signatures’ or patterns of mutations in the genome. These can be reconstructed either from experimental model systems8, 9 or from statistical analyses of cancer genomes in exposed patients10, 11, 12. Ionizing radiation directly damages DNA, and can generate lesions on single bases, single-stranded nicks in the DNA backbone, clustered lesions at several nearby sites and double-stranded DNA breaks13. In experimental systems exposed to radiation, including the murine germline and Arabidopsis thaliana cells, ionizing radiation can cause all classes of mutations, with possible enrichment of indels14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22. Targeted gene screens in radiation-induced sarcoma have indicated an increased burden of deletions and substitutions with frequent inactivation of TP53 and RB1 (refs 23, 24, 25). In addition, a transcriptome profile that represents a state of chronic oxidative stress has been proposed to be specific to radiation-associated sarcoma26.

We studied the genomes of 12 radiation-associated second malignancies of four different tumour types: osteosarcoma; spindle cell sarcoma; angiosarcoma; breast cancer. These were secondary tumours that arose within a field of therapeutic ionizing radiation and were not thought to be recurrences of the original malignancy treated with radiation. We chose this experimental design for several reasons: the tumours are classic radiotherapy-induced cancers with high attributable risks for the radiation exposure; the radiation exposure occurs over a short time period relative to the evolution of the cancer; and the mutational signatures of sporadic breast cancers and sarcomas have been well documented10, 27, 28, 29. It should be noted that in the absence of biomarkers, a diagnosis of a tumour being radiation-induced cannot be definitively made (see Supplementary Note 1 for clinical details and further discussion).

We subjected these 12 tumours, along with normal tissues from the same patients, to whole-genome sequencing and obtained catalogues of somatic mutations. We compared our findings to 319 radiation-naive breast cancers and sarcomas processed by the same sequencing and bioinformatics pipeline: 251 breast tumours; 33 breast tumours with pathogenic BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline mutations; 35 osteosarcomas (see Methods for cohort details). In addition, we validated our findings in a published series of radiation-naïve and radiation-exposed prostate tumours from ten patients30.

The main aim of our analyses was to search for tumour-type independent, overarching signatures of ionizing radiation. Overall we identified two such signatures in radiation-associative second malignancies, an excess of balanced inversions and of small deletions.

To read more :

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160907/ncomms12605/full/ncomms12605.html

September 14, 2016 Posted by | radiation, Reference | , , | Leave a comment

DNA damage, cancer caused by ionizing radiation identified

This UPI article was published on Sept. 13, 2016.
I added below the source of that UPI article, the study published on the sciences website “Nature” on Sept. 12, 2016.
This article is important, and should be seen by as many people as possible, as this scientific study will impact greatly the future of our anti-nuclear cause.
By establishing the genetic signatures of any cancer caused by ionizing radiation, any future denial from the nuclear lobby is now impossible. Those scientifically established signatures will also be extremely helpful in court for any future suit from radiation victims.

Researchers found mutational signatures left by radiation-caused changes to DNA, which may lead to better treatment of cancers.

dna-damage-cancer-caused-by-ionizing-radiation-identified

Researchers found mutational signatures which appear to indicate changes to DNA caused by exposure to ionizing radiation, which may allow doctors to better treat cancer caused by non-spontaneous mutations.

LONDON, Sept. 13 (UPI) — Though scientists have suspected ionizing radiation can cause cancer, experiments conducted in England are the first to show the damage it inflicts on DNA and may allow doctors to identify tumors caused by radiation.

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists showed the effects of gamma rays, X-rays and radioactive particles on DNA, deciphering patterns they think will help differentiate between spontaneous and radiation-caused tumors, allowing for better cancer treatment.

“To find out how radiation could cause cancer, we studied the genomes of cancers caused by radiation in comparison to tumors that arose spontaneously,” Dr. Peter Campbell, a researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a press release. “By comparing the DNA sequences we found two mutational signatures for radiation damage that were independent of cancer type. We then checked the findings with prostate cancers that had or had not been exposed to radiation, and found the same two signatures again. These mutational signatures help us explain how high-energy radiation damages DNA.”

For the study, the researchers looked for mutational signatures in 12 cancer patients with radiation-associated second malignancies, and compared their tumors to 319 from patients not exposed to radiation.

The researchers found two mutational signatures they link to radiation. While one causes small deletions of DNA bases, the other — called a balanced inversion — includes two cuts to DNA, with the middle piece spinning around and rejoining in the opposite direction.

These mutations, especially balanced inversions, which do not happen naturally in the body, increase the potential for cancer to develop, the researchers say.

“This is the first time that scientists have been able to define the damage caused to DNA by ionising radiation,” said Adrienne Flanagan, a professor at the University College London Cancer Institute. “These mutational signatures could be a diagnosis tool for both individual cases, and for groups of cancers, and could help us find out which cancers are caused by radiation. Once we have better understanding of this, we can study whether they should be treated the same or differently to other cancers.”

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/09/13/DNA-damage-cancer-caused-by-ionizing-radiation-identified/5151473765849/

Mutational signatures of ionizing radiation in second malignancies

« Ionizing radiation is a potent carcinogen, inducing cancer through DNA damage. The signatures of mutations arising in human tissues following in vivo exposure to ionizing radiation have not been documented. Here, we searched for signatures of ionizing radiation in 12 radiation-associated second malignancies of different tumour types. Two signatures of somatic mutation characterize ionizing radiation exposure irrespective of tumour type. Compared with 319 radiation-naive tumours, radiation-associated tumours carry a median extra 201 deletions genome-wide, sized 1–100 base pairs often with microhomology at the junction. Unlike deletions of radiation-naive tumours, these show no variation in density across the genome or correlation with sequence context, replication timing or chromatin structure. Furthermore, we observe a significant increase in balanced inversions in radiation-associated tumours. Both small deletions and inversions generate driver mutations. Thus, ionizing radiation generates distinctive mutational signatures that explain its carcinogenic potential. »

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160907/ncomms12605/full/ncomms12605.html

September 14, 2016 Posted by | radiation | , , | Leave a comment

A reminder that the World Health Organisation is subservient to International Atomic Energy Agency

Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO’s independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings.

it is time the WHO regained the freedom to impart independent, objective advice on the health risks of radiation.

IAEA-and-WHOToxic link: the WHO and the IAEA, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/may/28/who-nuclear-power-chernobyl Oliver TickellA 50-year-old agreement with the IAEA has effectively gagged the WHO from telling the truth about the health risks of radiation. F

Fifty years ago, on 28 May 1959, the World Health Organisation‘s assembly voted into force an obscure but important agreement with theInternational Atomic Energy Agency – the United Nations “Atoms for Peace” organisation, founded just two years before in 1957. The effect of this agreement has been to give the IAEA an effective veto on any actions by the WHO that relate in any way to nuclear power – and so prevent the WHO from playing its proper role in investigating and warning of the dangers of nuclear radiation on human health.

The WHO’s objective is to promote “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”, while the IAEA’s mission is to “accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world”. Although best known for its work to restrict nuclear proliferation, the IAEA’s main role has been to promote the interests of the nuclear power industry worldwide, and it has used the agreement to suppress the growing body of scientific information on the real health risks of nuclear radiation.

Under the agreement, whenever either organisation wants to do anything in which the other may have an interest, it “shall consult the other with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement”. The two agencies must “keep each other fully informed concerning all projected activities and all programs of work which may be of interest to both parties”. And in the realm of statistics – a key area in the epidemiology of nuclear risk – the two undertake “to consult with each other on the most efficient use of information, resources, and technical personnel in the field of statistics and in regard to all statistical projects dealing with matters of common interest”.

The language appears to be evenhanded, but the effect has been one-sided. For example, investigations into the health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine on 26 April 1986 have been effectively taken over by IAEA and dissenting information has been suppressed. The health effects of the accident were the subject of two major conferences, in Geneva in 1995, and in Kiev in 2001. But the full proceedings of those conferences remain unpublished – despiteclaims to the contrary by a senior WHO spokesman reported in Le Monde Diplomatique.

Meanwhile, the 2005 report of the IAEA-dominated Chernobyl Forum, which estimates a total death toll from the accident of only several thousand, is widely regarded as a whitewash as it ignores a host of peer-reviewed epidemiological studies indicating far higher mortality and widespread genomic damage. Many of these studies were presented at the Geneva and Kiev conferences but they, and the ensuing learned discussions, have yet to see the light of day thanks to the non-publication of the proceedings.

The British radiation biologist Keith Baverstock is another casualty of the agreement, and of the mindset it has created in the WHO. He served as a radiation scientist and regional adviser at the WHO’s European Office from 1991 to 2003, when he was sacked after expressing concern to his senior managers that new epidemiological evidence from nuclear test veterans and from soldiers exposed to depleted uranium indicated that current risk models for nuclear radiation were understating the real hazards.

Now a professor at the University of Kuopio, Finland, Baverstock finally published his paper in the peer-reviewed journal Medicine, Conflict and Survival in April 2005. He concluded by calling for “reform from within the profession” and stressing “the political imperative for freely independent scientific institutions” – a clear reference to the non-independence of his former employer, the WHO, which had so long ignored his concerns.

Since the 21st anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in April 2007, a daily “Hippocratic vigil” has taken place at the WHO’s offices in Geneva, organised byIndependent WHO to persuade the WHO to abandon its the WHO-IAEA Agreement. The protest has continued through the WHO’s 62nd World Health Assembly, which ended yesterday, and will endure through the executive board meeting that begins today. The group has struggled to win support from WHO’s member states. But the scientific case against the agreement is building up, most recently when the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) called for its abandonment at its conference earlier this month in Lesvos, Greece.

At the conference, research was presented indicating that as many as a million children across Europe and Asia may have died in the womb as a result of radiation from Chernobyl, as well as hundreds of thousands of others exposed to radiation fallout, backing up earlier findings published by the ECRR in Chernobyl 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident. Delegates heard that the standard risk models for radiation risk published by the International Committee on Radiological Protection (ICRP), and accepted by WHO, underestimate the health impacts of low levels of internal radiation by between 100 and 1,000 times – consistent with the ECRR’s own 2003 model of radiological risk (The Health Effects of Ionising Radiation Exposure at Low Doses and Low Dose Rates for Radiation Protection Purposes: Regulators’ Edition). According to Chris Busby, the ECRR’s scientific secretary and visiting professor at the University of Ulster’s school of biomedical sciences:

“The subordination of the WHO to IAEA is a key part of the systematic falsification of nuclear risk which has been under way ever since Hiroshima, the agreement creates an unacceptable conflict of interest in which the UN organisation concerned with promoting our health has been made subservient to those whose main interest is the expansion of nuclear power. Dissolving the WHO-IAEA agreement is a necessary first step to restoring the WHO’s independence to research the true health impacts of ionising radiation and publish its findings.”

Some birthdays deserve celebration – but not this one. After five decades, it is time the WHO regained the freedom to impart independent, objective advice on the health risks of radiation.

September 12, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Linear No Threshold Theory (LNT) of ionising radiation is backed by new research

Gamma radiation at a human relevant low dose rate is genotoxic in mice, Anne GraupnerDag M. EideChristine InstanesJill M. AndersenDag A. BredeStephen D. DertingerOle C. LindAnicke Brandt-KjelsenHans BjerkeBrit SalbuDeborah OughtonGunnar Brunborg & Ann K. Olsen  Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 32977  September 21016

Abstract

Even today, 70 years after Hiroshima and accidents like in Chernobyl and Fukushima, we still have limited knowledge about the health effects of low dose rate (LDR) radiation. Despite their human relevance after occupational and accidental exposure, only few animal studies on the genotoxic effects of chronic LDR radiation have been performed. Selenium (Se) is involved in oxidative stress defence, protecting DNA and other biomolecules from reactive oxygen species (ROS). It is hypothesised that Se deficiency, as it occurs in several parts of the world, may aggravate harmful effects of ROS-inducing stressors such as ionising radiation.

We performed a study in the newly established LDR-facility Figaro on the combined effects of Se deprivation and LDR γ exposure in DNA repair knockout mice (Ogg1−/−) and control animals (Ogg1+/−). Genotoxic effects were seen after continuous radiation (1.4 mGy/h) for 45 days. Chromosomal damage (micronucleus), phenotypic mutations (Pig-a gene mutation of RBCCD24−) and DNA lesions (single strand breaks/alkali labile sites) were significantly increased in blood cells of irradiated animals, covering three types of genotoxic activity.

This study demonstrates that chronic LDR γ radiation is genotoxic in an exposure scenario realistic for humans, supporting the hypothesis that even LDR γ radiation may induce cancer……..

radiation-causing-cancer

In the present study we demonstrate that exposure to a human relevant LDR γ radiation induces genotoxic effects in mouse blood cells assessed with three separate but complementary assays. These effects were expressed as increased levels of chromosomal damage (micronuclei), phenotypic mutations (RBCCD24−) and DNA lesions (ssb/als). The absolute measured changes were small, but significant. The formation of MN was observed in all irradiated groups independent of genotype or diet, and significant changes were seen in both immature and mature erythrocytes. This is an expected result given the chronic exposure and lack of splenic filtration of circulating MN-containing erythrocytes18……..In summary, exposure to chronic LDR of ionising radiation is indeed genotoxic with potential implications for cancer development, and the response is modified by the availability of Se, an element involved in the antioxidative defence report http://www.nature.com/articles/srep32977

September 12, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | 2 Comments

American Fukushima rescue ships still contaminated with radiation

16 US ships that aided in Operation Tomodachi still contaminated with radiation, By MATTHEW M. BURKE | STARS AND STRIPES March 13, 2016 CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Sixteen U.S. ships that participated in relief efforts after Japan’s nuclear disaster five years ago remain contaminated with low levels of radiation from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, top Navy officials told Stars and Stripes.

In all, 25 ships took part in Operation Tomadachi, the name given for the U.S. humanitarian aid operations after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. The tsunami, whose waves reached runup heights of 130 feet, crippled the Fukushima plant, causing a nuclear meltdown.

In the years since the crisis, the ships have undergone cleanup efforts, the Navy said, and 13 Navy and three Military Sealift Command vessels still have some signs of contamination, mostly to ventilation systems, main engines and generators……

The Navy has acknowledged that the Reagan passed through a plume of radiation. Navy images showed sailors with their faces covered, scrubbing the deck of the Reagan with soap and water as a precautionary measure afterward. The Reagan and sailors stayed off the coast of Japan for several weeks to aid their Japanese allies.

The multibillion-dollar ship, projected to last at least 50 years after its launch in 2001, then was taken offline for more than a year for “deep maintenance and modernization” at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Bremerton, Wash., according to Navy officials…….

Sailors who performed the work said it entailed entering spaces deep within the ship, testing for high levels of radiation, and if it was found, sanding, priming and painting the areas. They say there were given little to no protective gear, a claim that the Navy denies……

Eight Reagan sailors, claiming a host of medical conditions they say are related to radiation exposure, filed suit in 2012 against the nuclear plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. The suit asserts that TEPCO lied, coaxing the Navy closer to the plant even though it knew the situation was dire. General Electric, EBASCO, Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi were later added as defendants for allegations of faulty parts for the reactors.

A spokesman for TEPCO declined to comment for this story because of the sailors’ lawsuit, which was slated to go forward pending appeals in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The illnesses listed in the lawsuit include genetic immune system diseases, headaches, difficulty concentrating, thyroid problems, bloody noses, rectal and gynecological bleeding, weakness in sides of the body accompanied by the shrinking of muscle mass, memory loss, leukemia, testicular cancer, problems with vision, high-pitch ringing in the ears and anxiety.

The list of sailors who have joined the lawsuit, which is making its way through the courts, has grown to 370…….

Shinzo Kimura — a professor at Dokkyo Medical University in Japan who has studied radiation exposure from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Chernobyl and, now, Fukushima — said it wasn’t too early for sailors to show symptoms of exposure-related conditions. Doctors have seen conditions in children living near the plant that surfaced earlier than would normally be expected.

Kimura, hired by the Nihonmatsu city government for his expertise in the field, was the first scientist on the ground taking readings in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. He said each person and the way their body is affected by radiation is different.

While unable to definitively say if the sailors were sickened by the radiation, Kimura reasoned that the levels aboard the Reagan were high enough to cause illnesses. Otherwise, he said, why go through the bother of repeated cleanings to lower radiation levels?

“It is impossible to speculate or calculate how much the doses were before the two decontamination works,” he said. “The U.S. military is very good at risk-management. Considering that, it is assumed that decontaminations were conducted twice because the levels were not favorable.”

burke.matt@stripes.com

sumida.chiyomi@stripes.com    http://www.stripes.com/news/16-us-ships-that-aided-in-operation-tomodachi-still-contaminated-with-radiation-1.399094

September 2, 2016 Posted by | environment, health, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Hotseat #271: How Radiation in Oceans Contaminates Our Food Supply – Tim Deere-Jones

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This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Tim Deere-Jones is an independent marine pollution consultant and a specialist in the behavior and fate of marine pollutants in ocean, coastal and estuarine environments. He explains how radiation in the ocean from Fukushima and the UK’s Sellafield nuclear facility have impacted food safety at tremendous distances, as far away as the US West Coast.  A jaw-dropping eye-opening report.  This is an Encore presentation originally presented on Nuclear Hotseat #225 from October 13, 2015.

Numnutz of the Week:

The only thing “super” about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe-Baby showing up dressed as Super Mario at the Rio Olympics is his gall at continuing to lie about the nuclear contamination awaiting anyone who dares to attend the 2020 Tokyo Radioactive NOlympics.  (And that ball he’s holding is pure projection, if not delusion…)

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Listen Here:

Nuclear Hotseat #271: How Radiation in Oceans Contaminates Our Food Supply – Tim Deere-Jones

 

August 31, 2016 Posted by | radiation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Illness legacy of 456 nuclear weapons tests at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan

studies have detected among area residents heightened levels of leukemia and cancer of the breast, colon, esophagus, liver, lung and thyroid. They have also revealed higher levels of cardiovascular and blood diseases, chromosomal aberrations and congenital anomalies.

Kazakhstan: Living with Semipalatinsk’s Nuclear Fallout, EurasiaNet August 26, 2016 –  by Joanna Lillis   In the village of Znamenka in northeastern Kazakhstan, adults have vivid memories of nuclear explosions rocking text-relevantthe steppe.

 “We saw mushroom clouds — big and terrifying ones,” recalled Galina Tornoshenko, 67, shaking her head at the traumatic memory and gesturing upward at the clear blue sky. “I was small at the time, but I remember it well.”…….Over the next 40 years, 456 blasts were detonated there, releasing energy 2,500 times that of the first atomic weapon dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The tests turned swaths of Kazakhstan into a toxic wasteland and ravaged the health of locals, who were, in effect, human guinea pigs……..
The site was mothballed in 1991, the year of the Soviet Union’s collapse. But for the people still suffering from the fallout, the atomic legacy is living on. Now renamed Semey, Semipalatinsk lies 120 kilometers east of the former ground zero, which is marked by a poignant monument in a city park depicting a woman nursing a child under an exploding mushroom cloud.In a small apartment on the outskirts of Semey, Mayra Zhumageldina is massaging her daughter’s twisted limbs. “If you don’t do massage, they freeze up,” Zhumageldina told EurasiaNet.org, smiling down fondly at her disabled daughter. “I took a special massage course to do this.”

Zhannur Zhumageldina, 25, was born in the village of Olzhabay, 200 kilometers from the polygon, the year after it closed and three years after it conducted its last explosion.

anencephaly
At 15 months old, she was diagnosed with microcephaly, a rare neurological condition in which the head is abnormally small, impeding brain development, and scoliosis, curvature of the spine. Both conditions were caused by radiation exposure. Her diagnosis came as a bolt from the blue to her mother, pregnant at the time with her second child, a son who was born healthy.

“I didn’t even know the polygon existed until Zhannur was 15 months old,” said Zhumageldina, a single mother who cares full-time for her severely disabled daughter, who cannot walk or talk. “I was in shock.”

Across the city, in a cramped apartment in another drab suburb, Berik Syzdykov whiles away his days listening to music videos and strumming on his dombra, a traditional stringed instrument. Syzdykov, 37, was born blind and with severe facial deformities in Znamenka, the village where adults remember mushroom clouds exploding on the horizon.

“Once, there was a big explosion,” said his 73-year-old mother Zina Syzdykova, leaning back and closing her eyes. “It was the winter of 1979 and I was pregnant. Two months later, Berik was born like this.”

“Polygon,” she said with a shrug. “We didn’t know anything about it… When Berik was born, I cried and cried, but how would I know what was wrong with him?”
………Over four decades, nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk affected 1.5 million Kazakhstanis in some form, Nazarbayev has asserted. Due to poor record-keeping and Soviet official secrecy, it is still not known precisely how many people received dangerous doses of radiation, Togzhan Kassenova of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Program told EurasiaNet.org. Data cited in one Kazakh-Japanese study suggests a quarter of a million people may have received elevated doses.

Dr. Zhaxybay Zhumadilov, a scientist from Astana’s Nazarbayev University who has researched the impact of the tests with experts from Hiroshima University, says studies have detected among area residents heightened levels of leukemia and cancer of the breast, colon, esophagus, liver, lung and thyroid. They have also revealed higher levels of cardiovascular and blood diseases, chromosomal aberrations and congenital anomalies.

Determining exposure and drawing meaningful conclusions is complicated, because “for years, what happened at the Semipalatinsk test site, [and] its effects on human health and the environment, were treated as classified information,” Zhumadilov told EurasiaNet.org. There is no international analogy for such “repeated acute external and long-term internal chronic exposure.”………

the Semipalatinsk victims grapple with the consequences of the tests a quarter of a century on. Lump sum compensation paid out in the 1990s, mostly amounting to a few hundred dollars, is long since spent. Many sufferers now must make due on social welfare payments.Showing files of records of her dogged – mostly futile – approaches to officialdom and charities for assistance, Zhumageldina counts herself lucky to have state-subsidized housing costing just $8 for her one-room apartment, from the $150 in monthly welfare that the family lives on. She notes that it took her 19 years of lobbying before she was granted the subsidy benefit.

The state provides free medical care for the test victims: Zhumageldina’s daughter has recently undergone treatment in Astana to alleviate her condition, for which there is no cure. Still, Zhumageldina strikes an upbeat note. “Zhannur means everything to me,” she said with a gentle smile, flicking through an album showing photos of her disabled daughter growing up. “Everyone said I should abandon her – the doctors, my husband, my mother-in-law. … I said no. I’m going to look after her.”

Syzdykov received financial support from the government and an Irish charity for multiple operations in Kazakhstan and Europe, but still this man robbed of his sight by the Semipalatinsk tests dreams of seeing what the world looks like.

“If I could see, it would be good,” he said. “If not, there’s no need for any more surgery.” http://www.eurasianet.org/node/80311

August 27, 2016 Posted by | children, health, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

Study of sea life shows exposure to tritium +increase in temp may increase DNA mutation

Rising temperatures could accelerate radiation induced DNA effects in marine mussels

Increased sea temperatures could dramatically enhance and accelerate radiation-induced DNA effects in marine invertebrates, a new study suggests.

Led by Plymouth University, in conjunction with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the research for the first time explored the impact of rising temperatures coupled with the presence of tritium, an environmentally relevant radionuclide, on marine mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis).

Studies carried out under laboratory conditions demonstrated that at radiation dose rates considerably below the recommended international guidelines, induced DNA strand breaks appeared earlier at higher temperature compared to lower temperature. At 15ºC, DNA damage was only significantly elevated after seven days in contrast to 25°C where a similar response was observed after three days.

Scientists involved say this suggests an acceleration of radiation-induced DNA damage and potentially compromising defence mechanisms as indicated by changes in expression profiles of genes involved in heat-shock protection, cell cycle progression and repair of DNA breaks.

Temperature is an abiotic factor of particular concern for assessing the potential impacts of radionuclides, many of them having very long half-lives, on marine species, and with sea surface temperatures forecast to rise 0.5-3.5?C in the next 30-100 years, determining the interaction of radiological exposure has never been more important.

Awadhesh Jha, Professor of Genetic Toxicology & Ecotoxicology, led the study and said: “Ionising radiations are known to induce genetic damage, and radiation-induced genetic damage could be modified by many environmental factors, including temperature. Compared to other radionuclides, large amounts of tritium are discharged, mostly as water, in the marine environment by nuclear power plants (NPPs) and nuclear fuel reprocessing plants (NFRPs). In addition, cooling water from nuclear installations is one of the major sources of tritium in the aquatic environment. As thermal discharges from nuclear facilities is an important environmental issue, second only to the release of radionuclides which could extend for a long distance from the discharge point, such studies are important in determining the hazard and risk to the natural biota and therefore environmental sustainability.”

Brett Lyons, from the Environment and Animal Heath group based in Cefas’ Weymouth laboratory, co-supervised the study and said: “These results are important as they allow us to better understand the risks a warming ocean poses to marine life. We already know climate change is impacting things such as fish physiology, reproduction and migration, but this research is part of a growing body of evidence that is suggesting rises in sea water temperature may increase the risk posed by certain chemical and physical pollutants.”

For the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, the mussels were exposed to tritiated water (HTO) with differing temperatures of 15°C and 25°C, and DNA damage and gene expressions were determined along with accumulation of tritium in different tissues of the mussels over a period of seven days.

In their conclusion, the authors say: “This study is the first to investigate temperature effects on radiation-induced genotoxicity in an ecologically representative marine invertebrate. It represents an important step forward in radioecology in general, and our study suggests that mussels (or similar marine species) exposed to increased temperature and HTO may have a compromised ability to defend against genotoxic insult at the molecular level. This is particularly pertinent in the context of rising sea temperatures and thermal pollution. The study suggests there is still a pressing need to investigate the interactive effects of temperature and other abiotic factors in conjunction with radiation exposure on aquatic organisms.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Lorna J. Dallas, Tim P. Bean, Andrew Turner, Brett P. Lyons, Awadhesh N. Jha. Exposure to tritiated water at an elevated temperature: Genotoxic and transcriptomic effects in marine mussels (M. galloprovincialis). Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 2016; 164: 325 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.07.034

 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160823103216.htm

August 24, 2016 Posted by | radiation | , , , | Leave a comment

Indigenous Americans still paying the health price of uranium mining, long after mines shut

Years after mining stops, uranium’s legacy lingers on Native land  http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2016/tribal-series/crow-series/years-after-mining-stops-uraniums-legacy-lingers-on-native-land  August 22, 2016 By Brian Bienkowski
Editor’s Note: This story is part of “Sacred Water,” EHN’s ongoing investigation into Native American struggles—and successes—to protect culturally significant water sources on and off the reservation.

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CROW AGENCY, Mont.—The Crow are not alone in their struggle with uranium. The toxic metal is irrefutably intertwined with Native Americans, long a notorious national environmental injustice. Some 15,000 abandoned uranium mines with uranium contamination pocket 14 Western states. Of those, 75 percent are on federal and tribal lands, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Contamination is especially concentrated across the Colorado Plateau near the Four Corners region of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico, leaving a lasting impact on tribes such as Navajos, Utes, Hopi and Zuni.

The area became saturated with the dangerous metal from the heavy mining fueled by Cold War-era anxieties in the 1940s and ’60s, and the lax cleanup of the 1980s.

Most of the mines were on federal land—managed by the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management. But tribes, namely the Navajo, were swept into the uranium-mining boom for both their labor and land and are still dealing with the mess it left.

More than 521 abandoned uranium mines pocket Navajo land alone. Some 90 percent of uranium milling in the United States took place on or just outside the boundaries of Native American reservations, according to a 2015 study.  This left a legacy of dirty water, leftover toxic waste and health problems such as lung cancer and developmental delays for children in many Western tribes.

Such pollution becomes a force multiplier for Native Americans—on the Crow reservation it adds to economic, health and historical burdens, and further complicates the ability to cultivate and sustain their culture.

In the body, most—but not all—uranium is excreted. What remains settles mostly in the kidneys and bones. Excess uranium has been linked to increased cancer risk, liver damage, weakened bone growth, developmental and reproductive problems.

Even at low levels uranium may play a role in some cancers and fertility problems. Studies have shown it acts as an endocrine disruptor, mimicking the hormone estrogen. Hormones are crucial for proper development, and such altering can lead to some cancers and fertility and reproductive problems.

For the Navajo Nation, many men worked in mining or milling, unaware of the risks, and later dealt with various cancers and failing kidneys. In 2000 researchers reported that from 1969 to 1993 Navajo uranium miners had a lung-cancer rate about 29 times that of non-mining Navajos, according to the study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Most of the mining tunnels, pits and waste piles remain on the reservation today near Navajo families. Water, already scarce, remains tainted with uranium and other metals. In one report, researchers found elevated uranium levels in the urine of 27 percent of almost 600 Navajo tribal members tested. The U.S. population as a whole is closer to 5 percent.

The uranium-mining legacy also left contaminated groundwater on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Indians. In Washington state, two mines were shuttered in the 1980s, but more than 30 million tons of radioactive rock and ore remain at the site. Today it is a federal Superfund site. Researchers are now tracking cancer rates on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

“We see a high percentage of wells contaminated with trace elements like uranium in the double digits all over the U.S, but they are certainly more prevalent in Western, more arid areas.”
– Joe Ayotte, USGSThis toxic trail spreads throughout the West. Some uranium mining took place near the Crow Reservation, but naturally occurring levels can infiltrate drinking water wells too. And private wells don’t have the same safeguards of testing and treatment that public water does.

“We see a high percentage of wells contaminated with trace elements like uranium in the double digits all over the U.S, but they are certainly more prevalent in Western, more arid areas,” says Joe Ayotte, chief of groundwater quality studies section for the U.S. Geological Survey.

The USGS reported 20 percent of untreated water samples from public, private and monitoring wells nationwide contained concentrations of at least one trace element, such as uranium, arsenic and manganese.  Manganese and uranium were found at levels at or above human health standards in 12 percent and 4 percent of wells nationwide, respectively, according to the study.

Like the rest of the country, Montana home wells have historically not been tested for elements such as uranium and manganese, so it’s unclear if Crow is an outlier or the norm for the state.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality does not have regulatory authority over private wells on tribal lands, says Lisa Peterson, an agency spokesperson, adding that they haven’t received any information about contamination on the Crow Reservation.
For questions or feedback about this piece, contact Brian Bienkowski at bbienkowski@ehn.org.

August 24, 2016 Posted by | health, indigenous issues, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Climate Change Gravest Health Threat of 21st Century

flag-canadaLeading Doctor Calls Climate Change Gravest Health Threat of 21st Century http://commondreams.org/news/2016/08/23/leading-doctor-calls-climate-change-gravest-health-threat-21st-century?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork

‘When you cannot feed your children, you will do anything, even if it means going to war. This is the reality of climate change’

Climate change is the greatest threat to public health worldwide and doctors must step up to help mitigate it, according to a leading advocate speaking at the annual Canadian Medical Association (CMA) meeting in Vancouver on Monday.

Dr. James Orbinski, a former top official with the medical charity Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), who is now an an associate professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, urged physicians to “step up and step out” in the fight against climate change as part of their duties to create “health-in-all” policies.

“We’re not separate from our biosphere, or our planet,” Orbinski told the audience of 600. “We can’t possibly live, survive, and thrive without our biosphere. It affects us and we affect it.”

“Climate change is very much of our own making…but as doctors, we have a vital responsibility to urge the development of a health-in-all-policies approach,” he said.

The summit is taking place following extreme weather events and other environmental catastrophes throughout Canada, from wildfires in Fort McMurray to a massive oil spill in Saskatchewan.

The Vancouver Sun reports on Orbinski’s comments:

Droughts, fires like the one in Fort McMurray in May, floods, food security and infectious diseases are all linked to climate change.

Mental health problems and respiratory ailments from air pollution as well as rising rates of infectious diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease are also some of the consequences of climate change.

He also noted that Canada’s yearly rate of warming is twice the global pace, which means the effects of climate change will increase as time goes on, absent a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

“The implications are utterly profound,” Orbinski said.

“People go to war over water, food and territory, and when you cannot feed your children, you will do anything, even if it means going to war. This is the reality of climate change.”

CMA president Dr. Cindy Forbes said the organization would attempt to create an action plan. “I appreciated greatly Dr. Orbinski’s call to action, and I agree as a nation and as a planet we cannot ignore climate change,” she said.

August 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, health | Leave a comment

The health impacts of wildfires in America’s West

Wildfires burn in Alberta on May 7. Photo by Darryl Dyck / BloombergMapping the health threat of wildfires under climate change in US West Tens of millions will experience longer, more intense ‘smoke waves’ YALE SCHOOL OF FORESTRY & ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, Eureka Alert, 15 Aug 16 A surge in major wildfire events in the U.S. West as a consequence of climate change will expose tens of millions of Americans to high levels of air pollution in the coming decades, according to a new Yale-led study conducted with collaborators from Harvard.

The researchers estimated air pollution from past and projected future wildfires in 561 western counties, and found that by mid-century more than 82 million people will experience “smoke waves,” or consecutive days with high air pollution related to fires.

The regions likely to receive the highest exposure to wildfire smoke in the future include northern California, western Oregon, and the Great Plains.

Their results, published in the journal Climatic Change, point to the need for new or modified wildfire management and evacuation programs in the nation’s high-risk regions, said Jia Coco Liu, a recent Ph.D. graduate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and lead author of the study.

“Our study illustrates that smoke waves are likely to be longer, more intense, and more frequent under climate change,” Liu said. “This raises critical health, ecological, and economic concerns. Identifying communities that will be most affected in the future will inform development of fire management strategies and disaster preparedness programs.”…..http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/ysof-mt081516.php

August 17, 2016 Posted by | climate change, health, USA | Leave a comment

Previously classified documents help legal case for thorium affected nuclear workers

Once secret documents helping lawyers argue for sick nuclear workers at South Carolina complex Unlike many lawyers, Bob Warren agreed to represent sick workers at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The pay has been low, but Warren has for 13 years handled their cases in hopes of gaining compensation from the federal government. He’s done so, despite battling Parkinson’s disease and financial difficulties.Today, he continues to press their cases from a tiny law office in Black Mountain, N.C.  BY SAMMY FRETWELL sfretwell@thestate.com COLUMBIA, SC , 11 Aug 16, 

sick worker Idaho

Lawyers are using once-classified government documents to argue that potentially thousands of sick nuclear weapons workers and their families should be eligible for federal benefits.

The documents, released late last year, provide evidence that some workers at the Savannah River Site were exposed to thorium after 1972 even though the government said the South Carolina plant no longer had significant quantities of the radioactive material, said Bob Warren, an attorney representing ex-SRS employees.

Warren said the federal records show that SRS had ample amounts of thorium, a metal used in nuclear reactions that can cause cancer. Warren obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information Act from the U.S. Department of Energy after a three-year wait.

“Without this information, we would not be able to go forward,’’ Warren said in an interview with The State. “These documents are pivotal in making the case.’’

In a letter to a government radiation advisory board, Warren asks that more people employed at SRS be compensated for illnesses they contracted while working there.

Warren’s request, to be discussed by the advisory board Wednesday, seeks to expand a federal compensation program by making it easier for people who worked at SRS from 1973-2007 to gain benefits for cancer the site caused.

The federal government has already made it easier for many sick workers employed before 1973 at SRS to receive compensation because of likely exposure to thorium at the site.

Those eligible for benefits could get up to $400,000 each under the federal compensation program. The program, available to sick workers at federal weapons complexes across the country, has been criticized as a bureaucratic maze of rules so tough that many deserving people have been denied benefits. Some ex-workers have died before receiving compensation, according to a McClatchy newspapers investigation last year.

“There is no reason not to expand,’’ Warren’s written comments said, noting that approving his request would make “many more workers and their survivors eligible for benefits from the … program before they die.’’

Warren said if he is successful, several thousand people who worked at SRS from 1973 to 2007 could receive benefits.

SRS is a 310-square mile federal atomic weapons site near Aiken along the Georgia border. It was a cornerstone of the nation’s Cold War nuclear weapons production effort, at times employing more than 10,000 people. Many who worked there were exposed to radiation, and some now say the exposure made them sick.

Federal officials charged with recommending whether to expand the program are expected to challenge Warren’s arguments at Wednesday’s meeting of the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health. But Warren said it’s hard to dispute what he has found in more than 1,300 pages of records that the government released.

The documents, many of which were previously classified, contradict past federal justification for not expanding the compensation program, he said. The records indicate that thorium existed in notable quantities for years at SRS after 1972 – despite government arguments that it did not.

Among the documents are:

▪  Handwritten records from SRS officials showing that more than 8 tons of thorium were stored at the site in 1998.

▪ A 1982 memo from a ranking SRS official showing that thorium was among the radioactive materials the government wanted to discard.

▪  A 1976 inventory report showing about 7 tons of thorium on the site.

In addition, Warren’s comment letter to the advisory board uses the deposition of a top site official to show that the government had no bioassay medical screening program for thorium exposure before 2000.

Thorium is used in the aerospace industry and in nuclear reactions. Breathing thorium dust may cause an increased chance of lung disease as well as lung and pancreatic cancer years after being exposed, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Thorium, which is odorless and tasteless, also has been linked to bone cancer, the agency reports.

The 1,300 pages released by the government now “definitely show thorium shipments to, and in some cases from, SRS after 1972,’’ Warren’s letter says. In the past, federal health officials charged with giving the advisory board information have not provided documentation that would have helped the board recommend expanding the program to cover more recent years, he said.

The Department of Energy had no immediate comment on the thorium issue. It could be months before Warren’s request is resolved……….

Under the federal compensation program, employees sickened by numerous types of cancer at SRS and other federal weapons sites must show that the radiation they received was a significant cause of their illnesses. But the government also can declare entire classes of workers as eligible without requiring each worker to document his or her doses. The class designation can occur when individual dosage records are unavailable to workers.

Bioassy records are unavailable for individual workers to show exposure to thorium, Warren said. So Warren argues that all workers from 1973-2007 should be eligible for compensation. In 2011, he was successful in persuading the government to make workers prior to 1973 eligible for compensation because of thorium exposure.

Warren’s petition is part of a 14-year-effort to obtain compensation for people who say they were sickened by radiation at SRS. An attorney in Black Mountain, N.C., Warren is one of the few lawyers who took on SRS compensation cases, which do not pay attorneys well. He plans to retire soon because of health problems but he works with South Carolina lawyers Warren Johnson and Joshua Fester, who will continue the work.

Nationally, the government has paid more than $12 billion to sick ex-nuclear workers and their families, including those from SRS, McClatchy newspapers reported last year. The energy employees compensation program began in 2001. http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article94448307.html

August 12, 2016 Posted by | health, Legal, Reference, thorium | Leave a comment