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Remembering the radium girls – pioneers in radiation safety awareness

The legacy of the Radium Girls lives on through the ripples that their deaths created in labor law and our scientific understanding of the effects of radioactivity.
“Almost everything we know about radiation inside the human body, we owe to them,”
Radium Girls: The dark times of luminous watches

Jacopo Prisco, CNN  20th December 2017  A century ago, glow-in-the-dark watches were an irresistible novelty. The dials, covered in a special luminous paint, shone all the time and didn’t require charging in sunlight. It looked like magic.
One of the first factories to produce these watches opened in New Jersey in 1916. It hired about 70 women, the first of thousands to be employed in many such factories in the United States. It was a well-paid, glamorous job.
For the delicate task of applying the paint to the tiny dials, the women were instructed to point the brushes with their lips. But the paint made the watches glow because it contained radium, a radioactive element discovered less than 20 years earlier, its properties not yet fully understood. The women were ingesting it with nearly every brushstroke.
They became known as the “Radium Girls.”.

A miracle cure

Radium was discovered by Nobel laureate Marie Curie and her husband Pierre in 1898. It was quickly put to use as a cancer treatment.
Related:

The color purple: How an accidental discovery changed fashion forever

“Because it was successful, it somehow became an all-powerful health tonic, taken in the same way as we take vitamins today — people were fascinated with its power,” said Kate Moore, author of “The Radium Girls,” in a phone interview………

A slow killer

When ingested, radium is particularly dangerous: “Chemically, it behaves very much like calcium,” said Jorgensen. “Since the body uses calcium to make bone, ingested radium is mistaken for calcium and gets incorporated into bone. So the major health risk of ingesting radium is radiation-induced bone necrosis and bone cancers. How soon they develop depends upon the dose, but at the very high doses that the Radium Girls were exposed to, just a few years.”
The luminous paint, which worked by converting the radiation into light through a fluorescent chemical, was one of the most successful radium-based products. By putting the brushes in their mouths, the Radium Girls were especially at risk — so why did they do it? “Because it was the easiest way to get a fine point on the brush, to paint on numbers as small as a single millimeter in width,” said Moore.
But the girls didn’t embrace this technique blindly. “The first thing they asked was (whether) the paint was harmful, but the managers said it was safe, which was the obvious answer for a manager of a company whose very existence depended on radium paint.”

Not all that glitters

When the luminous watches grew fashionable in the early 1920s, the world was already becoming aware of the risks of radioactivity. But radiation poisoning isn’t immediate, so years went by before any of the workers developed symptoms…….

Radium jaw

In the early 1920s, some of the Radium Girls started developing symptoms like fatigue and toothaches. The first death occurred in 1922, when 22-year-old Mollie Maggia died after reportedly enduring a year of pain. Although her death certificate erroneously stated that she died of syphilis, she was actually suffering from a condition called “radium jaw.” Her entire lower jawbone had become so brittle that her doctor removed it by simply lifting it out. “The radium was destroying the bone and literally drilling holes in the women’s jaws while they were still alive,” said Moore.
Yet it would take another two years before the company that owned the factory, the United States Radium Corporation, took any action at all, through an independent investigation commissioned mostly to investigate the declining business rather than the health of the workers.
In 1925 Grace Fryer, one of the workers from the original New Jersey plant, decided to sue, but she would spend two years searching for a lawyer willing to help her. She finally filed her case in 1927 along with four fellow workers, and made front-page news around the world.
The case, settled in the women’s favor in 1928, became a milestone of occupational hazard law. By this time, the dangers of radium were in full view, the lip-pointing technique was discontinued and the workers were being given protective gear. More women sued, and the radium companies appealed several times, but in 1939 the Supreme Court rejected the last appeal.
The survivors received compensation, and death certificates would start reporting the correct cause of death. The year before, the Food and Drug Administration banned the deceptive packaging of radium-based products. Radium paint itself was eventually phased out and has not been used in watches since 1968.

An enduring legacy

Related:

The game-changing design made to go unnoticed

It’s hard to calculate how many women suffered health problems due to the ingestion of radium, but the certainly number in the thousands, according to Moore. Some of the effects would only be felt much later in life through various forms of cancer. With a half-life of 1,600 years, once the radium was inside the women’s bodies, it was there for good.
The legacy of the Radium Girls lives on through the ripples that their deaths created in labor law and our scientific understanding of the effects of radioactivity. “In the 1950s, during the Cold War, many agreed voluntarily to be studied by scientists, even with intrusive examinations because they had been exposed for prolonged periods of time,” said Moore.
“Almost everything we know about radiation inside the human body, we owe to them,” she said. http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/radium-girls-radioactive-paint/index.html
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December 20, 2017 Posted by | history, radiation, USA, women | Leave a comment

Women Leaders Aren’t Making Enough Foreign Policy Decisions, and it’s a Problem

by Meredith Horowski and Lillyanne Daigle

While women are leading the resistance, the halls of power in D.C. and states across the country lag pathetically behind. We saw this perhaps most vividly when Trump gathered an all-male group of politicians at the White House to discuss his efforts to gut women’s health care. In a single photograph, the gross underrepresentation of women’s voices in government and on issues directly impacting their lives was crystal clear.

And it was exactly that photograph — and the utterly out-of-sync gender dynamics it laid bare — that stuck in our minds this month as we sat in a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Trump’s unrestrained power to wage nuclear war. A committee with a 20:1 male-to-female ratio heard testimony from three men on whether one man should have total, unchecked power to start a nuclear war and blow up the planet. This is a system that, as Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said, “boggles the rational mind.”

Apparently, the Senate has a one-woman limit when it comes to foreign policy.

To read the full article at Teen Vogue,  https://www.teenvogue.com/story/women-leaders-arent-making-enough-foreign-policy-decisions-and-its-a-problem

December 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, women | Leave a comment

Deaths of newborns increased in areas irradiated by Fukushima nuclear disaster

Academic paper: “Increases in perinatal mortality in prefectures contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan”  Source Institute: 医療問題研究会

エビデンスに基づく保健・医学・薬学(EBM)の実践的研究を

Institute link : http://ebm-jp.com

Link to full text pdf: http://ebm-jp.com/wp-content/uploads/media-2016002-medicine.pdf

Authors and copyright:  Hagen Heinrich Scherb, Dr rer nat Dipl-Matha,∗, Kuniyoshi Mori, MDb, Keiji Hayashi, MDcEditor: Roman Leischik.

Abstract:

Descriptive observational studies showed upward jumps in secular European perinatal mortality trends after Chernobyl.

The question arises whether the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident entailed similar phenomena in Japan. For 47 prefectures representing 15.2 million births from 2001 to 2014, the Japanese government provides monthly statistics on 69,171 cases of perinatal death of the fetus or the newborn after 22 weeks of pregnancy to 7 days after birth.

Employing change-point methodology for detecting alterations in longitudinal data, we analyzed time trends in perinatal mortality in the Japanese prefectures stratified by exposure to estimate and test potential increases in perinatal death proportions after Fukushima possibly associated with the earthquake, the tsunami, or the estimated radiation exposure.

Areas with moderate to high levels of radiation were compared with less exposed and unaffected areas, as were highly contaminated areas hit versus untroubled by the earthquake and the tsunami. Ten months after the earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent nuclear accident, perinatal mortality in 6 severely contaminated prefectures jumped up from January 2012 onward: jump odds ratio 1.156; 95% confidence interval (1.061, 1.259), P-value 0.0009.

There were slight increases in areas with moderate levels of contamination and no increases in the rest of Japan.

In severely contaminated areas, the increases of perinatal mortality 10 months after Fukushima were essentially independent of the numbers of dead and missing due to the earthquake and the tsunami. Perinatal mortality in areas contaminated with radioactive substances started to increase 10 months after the nuclear accident relative to the prevailing and stable secular downward trend. These results are consistent with findings in Europe after Chernobyl. 

Since observational studies as the one presented here may suggest but cannot prove causality because of unknown and uncontrolled factors or confounders, intensified research in various scientific disciplines is urgently needed to better qualify and quantify the association of natural and artificial environmental radiation with detrimental genetic health effects at the population level….. more https://nuclearexhaust.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/academic-paper-increases-in-perinatal-mortality-in-prefectures-contaminated-by-the-fukushima-nuclear-power-plant-accident-in-japan

 

November 27, 2017 Posted by | children, Fukushima continuing, Japan, Reference, women | Leave a comment

The key to reversing climate change – the education of women

Educated women are the key to reversing climate change https://thenextweb.com/science/2017/08/24/educated-women-are-the-key-to-reversing-climate-change/#.tnw_mQzgoobNby  — One author and activist thinks he’s found the answer to reversing climate change: the education and empowerment of women.

August 25, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Education, women | Leave a comment

In remote Asia, solar power is transforming the lives of women

Climate News Network 1st Aug 2017, A solar revolution is transforming the lives of women in the remotest parts of Asia. They no longer have to wait decades to be connected to a power grid but are able today to exploit the huge potential of the abundant sunshine.

In societies where women normally play a subservient role and spend much of their time on menial chores, solar businesses are creating a new breed of female entrepreneur who are bringing electricity to their villages.

In the last two years two schemes designed to encourage women to bring the solar revolution to parts of rural India and Nepal have won international Ashden Awards, which bring the organisations involved
£20,000 (US$26,360) each in prize money and a lot of guidance to improve
and extend their businesses. http://climatenewsnetwork.net/women-take-control-solar-revolution/

August 4, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, social effects, women | Leave a comment

Ionising radiation’s cancer effect far greater in females than in males

The highest incidence of cancer, looking across 60 years, was among those who were children when they were exposed. This is not news. The surprise is that in this group, females suffered twice as much cancer across their lives than did males.

The difference between male and female, with males more resistant to radiation harm, is measurable in all the age-of-exposure cohorts, even into old age

For every two men exposed in adulthood who died of cancer, three women died of cancer

Females Exposed to Nuclear Radiation Are Far Likelier Than Males to Suffer Harm http://www.passblue.com/2017/07/05/females-exposed-to-nuclear-radiation-are-far-likelier-than-males-to-suffer-harm/, by Mary Olson • July 5, 2017 • The new nuclear weapons ban treaty, to be most likely adopted by the United Nations General Assembly this week, arises from hope for our future. The negotiations for the treaty have elevated new information about the damage from ionizing radiation to the world stage. That is exactly where it needs to be heard.

More cancers are derived from radiation than national regulators now report. They may not be aware that both age-at-exposure and one’s sex determine how much harm we suffer from radiation.

Women exposed to ionizing radiation during childhood suffer from cancer at a rate 10 times higher than predicted by traditional models used by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The models assume that “Reference Man” represents us all. Invented to simplify calculations, Reference Man is 25 to 30 years old, weighs 154 pounds, is 5 feet 6 inches tall, “Caucasian and has a Western European or North American” lifestyle.

There has never been a pause as more than 2,000 atomic tests since 1945 have been spreading radioactivity worldwide and hundreds of nuclear factories have proliferated. No one asked if Reference Man is an appropriate stand-in for all of humanity and radiation harm.

It turns out that adult males are hurt by radiation, but they are significantly more resistant than their mothers, sisters, wives or daughters. Use of Reference Man masks gendered impacts and therefore systematically underreports radiation harm.

My first paper on radiation, published in 2011, “Atomic Radiation Is More Harmful to Women,” answers a simple question from a woman who raised her hand at one of my public lectures in North Carolina a year earlier, asking, “Does radiation exposure harm me more than a man?” She did not mean in pregnancy; she meant her own body.

I was shocked. That was 2010; in decades of work on radioactive waste policy, I had never heard of gender as a factor in radiation harm. I could not even attempt an answer. When the literature yielded nothing, my mentor, Rosalie Bertell, suggested I look at the numbers myself. Bertell was a mathematician and a recipient of a Right Livelihood Award, which is called an alternative to the Nobel prizes. Bertell devoted her life to communities hurt by radiation, including the ones she pointed me to in order to examine the data.

Only one large data set includes all ages and both genders exposed together to a single flash of gamma and neutron radiation: the survivors of the US nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. They survived in shelters or other shielding amid the first horrific years. Sixty years of data on cancer incidences and fatality among the survivors — called the Hibakusha — was published by the US National Academy of Science in 2006.

I regret that this data even exists — it was my government that used the first nuclear bombs on cities full of people, and I certainly wish they had not. I nonetheless use the numbers. They hold a message for humanity: gender matters in the atomic age. That does not make it right.

The highest incidence of cancer, looking across 60 years, was among those who were children when they were exposed. This is not news. The surprise is that in this group, females suffered twice as much cancer across their lives than did males.

The difference between male and female, with males more resistant to radiation harm, is measurable in all the age-of-exposure cohorts, even into old age — the difference between genders is smaller when adults are exposed rather than when they are children.

For every two men exposed in adulthood who died of cancer, three women died of cancer. A 50 percent difference in the rate of cancer death from radiation exposure in adulthood is not insignificant to most female readers! Indeed, this finding is changing my own behavior in fieldwork.

The question, Why is gender a factor?, is waiting for researchers to tackle. A team lead by David Richardson in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2016 showed that the A-bomb cancer data mirrors the outcomes of many smaller radiation exposures over time, adding up to the same exposure level as the Japanese survivors.

We are all getting these smaller radiation exposures.

The 10-females-to-1-male ratio cited here is the comparison of cancer outcomes from the youngest female survivors versus the 25- to 30-year-old males: the group that underpins Reference Man. This dramatic order-of-magnitude difference in biological research is like a siren blaring: pay attention!

It is time to retire Reference Man. Any level that is set for public exposure to radiation should be based on little girls. When we protect them, everyone is better protected. Unless we protect girls, our collective future is at stake.

The radiation and gender “siren”  has not been heard widely, but it has been heard. In 2014, I was honored to present my findings at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons and exhilarated to read the draft treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, where one basis for the need for the new treaty is the disproportionate harm to women and girls from ionizing radiation.

The treaty falls within the jurisdiction of humanitarian law, which includes the most human activity of all: making babies, from which flow future generations. For these countless people to come, I celebrate that the news on radiation has been heard at the UN as it takes the next vital step of voting on a new nuclear-ban treaty.

It is a sturdy seedling of hope.

July 10, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, women | Leave a comment

Angry reaction to nuclear power plant’s bikini contest for selecting female interns

Fury as nuclear power plant holds sexy bikini contest to pick new female intern, A NUCLEAR power station has sparked anger after holding a raunchy bikini contest to choose its new female intern. Express UK , By TOM PARFITT,  Jun 27, 2017 The Temelin Power Station, in the Czech Republic, launched the competition to recruit young women based solely on their bikini bodies.

Officials selected 10 female candidates and then organised a bizarre photoshoot in one of the station’s cooling towers.

The sexy shots were then posted online, with fans asked to vote for the hottest to get the internship job.

But bosses were forced to apologise and scrap the unique recruitment process after a social media backlash.

Human rights lawyer Petra Havlikova said: “The competition is absolutely outside the bounds of ethics.

“In 2017, I find it incredible that someone could gain a professional advantage for their good looks.”…..

June 28, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, women | Leave a comment

Women heading the Ban the Bomb movement

 http://thebulletin.org/women-and-ban-bomb-movement, Ray Acheson, 15 JUNE 2017This week at the United Nations in New York City, governments, international organizations and civil society groups are gathering to resume negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons. And women are at the forefront of this effort—as they have been at the forefront of the anti-nuclear resistance since the beginning of the nuclear age.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) —where I work as director—was one of the first civil society groups to condemn the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (The term “civil society” gets used a lot and has many different definitions, but is generally accepted to mean groups working in the interests of citizens but outside of government or business; some examples include charities and non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross.) Women were leaders in the campaign to ban nuclear weapon testing in the United States, using powerful symbols such as a collection of baby teeth to show evidence of radioactive contamination. Women led the Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980s, calling on the Soviet Union and the United States to stop the arms race. Now, women are the leading edge of the movement to ban nuclear weapons in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

When the three-week-long negotiations at the UN resume on June 15, women will be continuing this tradition, both in the conference room and on the streets. As part of its efforts to ban nuclear weapons, the WILPF is organizing the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb, on June 17, to be held in mid-town Manhattan. Other events will be held across the globe to show solidarity with the march, in places as far apart as Australia and Scotland. The event has over 30 sponsors and endorsers from around the world.

In my opinion, the process of banning nuclear weapons serves another purpose as well: It acts as a challenge to much of the existing discourse, which has been distinctly patriarchal in tone.

In fact, much of the opposition to the nuclear ban process has been highly gendered. Those who talk about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and call for the prohibition of weapons of mass destruction are accused of being divisive, polarizing, ignorant, and emotional. Meanwhile, opponents to the ban say that they support “reasonable,” “realistic,” “practical” or “pragmatic” steps, and call anything else “irrational” and “irresponsible.”

Many women may recognize this rhetorical assault. When a certain type of man—think Donald Trump—wants to assert his power and dominance and make women (or other men) feel small and marginalized, he often accuses them of being emotional, overwrought, relentless, repetitive, or irrational. This technique has been employed for as long as gender hierarchies have existed.

In the case of the ban treaty, this approach links caring about humanitarian concerns to being weak, and asserts that “real men” have to “protect” their countries. It not only suggests that caring about the use of nuclear weapons is spineless and silly, but also implies that the pursuit of disarmament is an unrealistic, irrational, and even effeminate objective.

Of course, the fact that masculinity is equated across so many cultures with the willingness to use force and violence is a social phenomenon, not a biological one. Boys come to learn to define themselves as men through violence. The way that norms of masculinity such as toughness, strength, and bravado are displayed in the media, at home, and in school teaches boys to exercise dominance through violent acts. Boys learn to think of violence as a form of communication.

Nuclear weapons are themselves loaded with symbolism—of potency, protection and the power to “deter” through material “strength.” For many, such symbolism obscures the real point of the existence of these arms—to destroy—and their horrendous effects.

Nuclear weapons are not just symbolically gendered. Women face unique devastation from the effects of the use of nuclear weapons, such as the impacts of radiation on their reproductive and maternal health. Women who have survived these radioactive effects also face unique social challenges; they are often treated as pariahs in their communities.

Consequently, denying the rationality of those that support a nuclear weapons ban is also a denying of the lived experience of everyone who has ever suffered from the use or testing of nuclear weapons.

This is why it’s essential to ensure gender diversity in negotiations, and why it’s important to include a gender perspective in those negotiations. To celebrate the nuclear ban—and women’s leadership in achieving it—there will be the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb.

This post is part of Ban Brief, a series of updates on the historic 2017 negotiations to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Ban Brief is written by Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will.

June 16, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war, women | Leave a comment

Women face up to climate change threat, some choosing not to have children

climate-doomsdayWomen are breaking the climate taboo and questioning whether to have kids in such a world, Fusion, By Renee Lewis, 20 Dec 16, Climate change has caused a reproductive justice crisis, activists say, as its projected impacts lead some to question how they could have a baby with such an uncertain future.

Nearly 200 nations came together to sign a climate treaty in Paris last year, but even their collective efforts to reduce emissions will not be enough to keep the planet at a safe level of temperature rise.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to expand fossil fueldevelopment, meanwhile, scientists say the world may have entered its sixth mass extinction event.

 All of these things point to a precarious future for our species—a business-as-usual scenario will mean some six feet of sea level rise and some regions of the world becoming uninhabitable or disappearing under rising seas by the end of the century.

With little time to spare, many are trying to take matters into their own hands and consider their options. A group of 21 youth recently sued the federal government for its role in creating the climate crisis and for leaving them to inherit a polluted planet—calling it generational injustice.

Others worry more about future generations.

“Decision makers have repeatedly put big business and fossil fuels over a future for our children,” said Meghan Kallman, co-founder of Conceivable Future. The women-led network hopes to bring awareness to the threat climate change poses to reproductive justice, and to end U.S. subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

Kallman and co-founder Josephine Ferorelli brought up a taboo question—how this affects a person’s decision on whether or not to have kids.

“How does this affect people of childbearing age?” Kallman asked.

The response they’ve received has been overwhelming, with many people commenting on articles written about the group: ‘That’s my reason!’

Women as well as men are consciously deciding not to have children, knowing that their kids could inherit a future that is unlivable.

“People are still shocked when they ask why I don’t have children, and I tell them ‘for environmental reasons,’” Shannon O., 38 years old,said in a testimonial for Conceivable Future. Having a child, especially in America where consumption levels are so high, adds another carbon footprint. For example, an American woman who makes lifestyle changes such as recycling and driving a fuel-efficient car saves almost 500 tons of CO2 emissions in her lifetime. But choosing to not have a child would dwarf that, preventing almost 10,000 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere………

The testimonies are part of Conceivable Future’s strategy to build a conversation—and a movement—around this question. Ferorelli said they hope the movement will become powerful enough to enact change at the local level—especially with Trump’s statements on expanding the fossil fuel industry.

“Now more than ever, we need to organize at the grassroots level, because the possibility of federal action is pretty severely limited,” Ferorelli said.

The group encourages anyone who’s interested in talking about these issues to host a house party. There, they can discuss these often taboo topics openly in a comfortable environment.

Across the country, people have hosted house parties and sent in nearly 70 testimonies…….. http://fusion.net/story/376997/climate-change-causes-people-to-reconsider-having-kids/

December 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA, women | Leave a comment

Medical radiation poses risks for nurses

text-from-the-archivesFor patients, unnecessary procedures (usually imaging procedures) and radiation dosing errors represent the bulk of risk from medical radiation, whereas incidental, unintended radiation exposure is the primary concern for nurses and other health care workers…

Radiation safety for patients—and nurses   Oncology Nurse Advisor, Bryant medical-radiationFurlow, October 26, 2011  Diagnostic and therapeutic radiation have prolonged and improved millions of patients’ lives, and represent indispensable and increasingly sophisticated tools in clinical oncology. But medical radiation’s gifts have come at the potential cost of unintended irradiation of patients and health care workers and increased lifetime risks of secondary cancers. This concern has grown with improving patient survival times, particularly among pediatric cancer patients. Continue reading

December 7, 2016 Posted by | health, Reference, USA, women | Leave a comment

“Just Mums” have become a powerful lobbying force for action on radioactive wastes.

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

June 3, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, wastes, women | Leave a comment

What Are The Public Health and Environmental Impacts of Radiation Exposure?

highly-recommendedCancer, Coverups and Contamination: The Real Cost of Nuclear Energ27th September 2015 Andreas Toupadakis Ph.D Contributing Writer for Wake Up World 

“………Another important factor in the equation of the cost of nuclear power is public health. This factor is downplayed if BREAST-CANCERnot completely ignored in most cost analyses so, while the corporations continue to benefit, the risks of nuclear power generation are passed onto the unaware public. However, informed citizens know that cancer is devastating their families and ask why. Let’s look at some facts about breast cancer, among so many other kinds.

Breast cancer kills 46,000 women in the U.S. alone, each year. It is well known that cancer rates depend on the degree of exposure to carcinogens. But what are the carcinogens that cause cancer?

Physician, author and activist Dr. Janette D. Sherman MD is a practicing physician who specializes in internal medicine and toxicology with an emphasis on chemicals and nuclear radiation that cause illnesses, including cancer and birth defects. In her fully-documented book “Life’s Delicate Balance: The Causes and Prevntion of Breast Cancer” (New York and London: Taylor and Francis, 2000), Dr. Sherman explains an established cause of breast and other cancers: ionizing radiation from x-rays and from nuclear power plant emissions and the radioactive fallout from atomic bomb tests. Dr. Sherman also asks a simple question, which medical and nuclear insiders are otherwise unable to answer;

“How [else] can one explain the doubling, since 1940, of a woman’s likelihood of developing breast cancer, and also increasing in tandem with prostate and childhood cancers?”

How is it known that ionizing radiation in our environment – that is, in air, water, soil and food – plays an important role in causing breast cancer? Because when women from their non-industrial homelands move to nuclear and industrial countries, their breast cancer rate inevitably goes up. In 1984, a study of Mormon families in Utah downwind from the nuclear tests in Nevada reported elevated numbers of breast cancers. Girls who survived the bombing of Hiroshima are also now dying in excessive numbers from breast cancer. There are also a number of ecological studies showing that women living near nuclear power plants suffer from elevated rates of breast cancers.

It is not a secret that all nuclear power plants leak radioactivity routinely into local air and water, and that any exposure to ionizing radiation increases a woman’s danger of breast cancer. Clearly there is an epidemic of cancer that is sweeping the western world, and the only way to prevent the nuclear industry from further contributing to this problem is to end nuclear power permanently. This is also the conclusion of the ECRR 2010 recommendations report

“The Committee concludes that the present cancer epidemic is a consequence of exposures to global atmospheric weapons fallout in the period 1959-63 and that more recent releases of radioisotopes to the environment from the operation of the nuclear fuel cycle will result in significant increases in cancer and other types of ill health.”

But is breast cancer from nuclear power plants the only cost of nuclear power to public health? How about dozens of other illnesses? Studies have clearly linked radiation exposure to increased rates of childhood cancers, thyroid damage, skin complaints, endocrine disruption, pregnancy issues (such as miscarriage) and emotional trauma, which itself negatively impacts the body.

“In 2007, the latest of a long series of childhood leukemia studies was published: this one from the German Childhood Cancer Registry, showing a statistically significant effect on child cancer in those living within 5km of nuclear plants (KiKK 2007). The size of this study, and the affiliation of the authors, made it impossible to conclude that this was anything but proof of a causal relationship between childhood cancer and nuclear plant exposures to radioactive releases…

“The Committee has examined the considerable weight of evidence relating to the existence of childhood cancer clusters near nuclear sites, including evidence from aggregations of nuclear sites in the UK and Germany and has concluded that it is exposure to internal radiation from discharges from the sites which is the cause of the illness.”………http://wakeup-world.com/2015/09/27/cancer-coverups-and-contamination-the-real-cost-of-nuclear-energy/

September 28, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, radiation, Reference, women | Leave a comment

Women not equally involved in expert discussions on #nuclear disarmament

nuclear-and-womenIn the debate towards nuclear disarmament, where are all the women?, Institute for Security Studies  26 August 2015 This year marks seven decades since the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Commemorating this devastating event raises critical questions about efforts to eliminate and curb the spread of nuclear weapons. Among the many debates, there is, however, one pertinent question that is often overlooked: where are all the women?

On the face of it, contexts where nuclear weapons and efforts at disarmament are typically discussed appear to be gender neutral – that is, allowing for the equal participation of women and men.

Organisations such as the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) have come a long way in creating a gender-equitable space in the peace and security arena. The AU, for instance, has dedicated this year to African women’s empowerment and development. Yet, are women and men equally involved in initiatives and forums for eliminating and curbing the spread of nuclear weapons?

An analysis of the level of participation of women and men in two particular forums revealed some compelling findings. The analyses were based on data collected from the lists of participants available online from the Review Conferences of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); and the United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament………..

These analyses make it clear that women and men are differently involved in initiatives, discussions and negotiations in arenas for curbing and eliminating nuclear weapons. There are other factors that might explain the underrepresentation of women, intended or unintended, in nuclear weapons platforms that merit further investigation. Which factors, for example, might dissuade women from considering a career in a field related to disarmament and arms control? Is there a marked shortfall of women with the relevant expertise, and if so, why? Continue reading

August 31, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, women | 1 Comment

Medical science’s blind spot about the causes of cancer, especially about ionising radiation

These days, our science is often directed by funding, and funding increasingly is directed by large corporations whose incentives are to increase profit. This research emphasis leads to a focus on tertiary treatment in high-tech healthcare centers, while blind spots develop about the causes of illness, especially environmental ones, including PCBs, heavy metals, radiation, and pesticides.

Lies, damn lies, and radiation health, A Prosperous Way Down by Mary Logan  2013,Recent news about Hanford leaks, a flurry of news surrounding the two-year anniversary of Fukushima, and today’s news about breast cancer rates in the US center my thoughts on blind spots in health research. I will use ionizing radiation again as an illustration of environmental linkages to disease, beginning with the trigger for this post, which was a new World Health Organization (WHO) report. Previous posts about nuclear hazards are linked here and here.

This week, the WHO published a preemptive report on Fukushima, only two years after the disaster. The WHO concluded that “for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted risks are low and no observable increases in cancer rates above baseline rates are anticipated.” This conclusion is from the same organization that has been muzzled on the topic of ionizing radiation contamination of our environment since 1959, when they agreed to misinform the public in subordination to the global nuclear governing body, the IAEA, to protect civil and military nuclear interests.  If you believe that Fukushima has not increased background risk and there will be no increases in cancer rates, I have a bridge to sell you. Mark Twain’s maxim about lies, damn lies, and statistics can be applied here. The point of this post is to examine western medicine’s epistemology of disease, specifically examining how we select the risk factors that are involved in cancer and other diseases.

Epistemology is the study of the nature and scope of knowledge. Our society lacks a broad understanding of how ionizing radiation behaves once it is accidentally released into the environment. There are two main reasons for this. Bednarz (2010) describes Mitroff and Silvers’ discussion of Type 3 errors, where we unintentionally solve the wrong problems through our narrow worldview and reductionist focus in science, and Type 4 errors, where we intentionally solve the wrong problems, because we are pursuing goals such as profit that subverts the science. In our western system of medical research, we commit both Type 3 and Type 4 errors as a result of our narrow worldview and our economic mandate for profit and growth. These type 3 and 4 errors result in blind spots, especially regarding environmental linkages to disease.

In another medical report this week, a new epidemiological study of breast cancer reports increasing rates of breast cancer in young women (Johnson, Chien, & Bleyer, 2013). The pattern of increased incidence in younger patients would be compatible with the epidemiology of radiation-caused cancers, which are more common in the young who have faster cell division/turnover. The increased incidence could also be compatible with many other accumulating environmental toxins.

“The number of American women ages 25 to 39 diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — which has already spread to other organs by the time it’s found — rose about 3.5% a year from 2000 to 2009, according to a study in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. The trend began in the 1970s, although the most rapid increases occurred in about the last decade, the study says. The study doesn’t provide any clues about what might be driving the increase, says study author Rebecca Johnson, a pediatric and adolescent oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. . . .

The number of women in this age range diagnosed with advanced disease rose from about 250 a year in 1976 to about 850 a year in 2009, Johnson says. The largest increases were in the youngest women, from ages 25 to 34, the study says. There were also slight increases in metastatic diagnoses among women ages 40 to 54, but no increase in older women” (USA Today, 2/27/13).

Western medicine’s emphasis on treatment and pharmaceuticals, with abandonment of science that is focused on prevention and risk factors in fields such as epidemiology, public health, and environmental medicine points to reductionist science and the influence of money in directing the focus of research. Recently, Dr. Susan Love said that  “. . . her experience [of a recent diagnosis of acute myelogenous leukemia] has emboldened her in her quest to focus on the causes of disease rather than new drugs to treat it.” This aha! moment from a well-known breast cancer researcher illustrates our blind focus on research oriented towards treatment with increasingly costly drugs that may not cure.These days, our science is often directed by funding, and funding increasingly is directed by large corporations whose incentives are to increase profit. This research emphasis leads to a focus on tertiary treatment in high-tech healthcare centers, while blind spots develop about the causes of illness, especially environmental ones, including PCBs, heavy metals, radiation, and pesticides. In Love’s case, her leukemia is even more likely to be attributable to radiation exposure than other diseases. Strontium-90 is a bone-seeker, playing havoc with bone marrow. Should we be focusing on and funding genetic testing and treatment as the future of medicine, or should we be widening our view to encompass better science about preventive care and attention to burgeoning environmental risk factors? Especially since the cost of healthcare in America is now at 18% of GDP, and rising without brakes.http://prosperouswaydown.com/epistemology-radiation-health/

August 7, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, women | Leave a comment

Near nuclear power stations, breast cancer rates are 5 times higher

BREAST-CANCERBreast Cancer Rates Skyrocket Near Nuclear Power Plants http://naturalsociety.com/breast-cancer-rates-skyrocket-near-nuclear-power-plants/ by Robert Harrington
 June 26, 2015    Rates as much as 5x higher A scientific research paper in Great Britain asserted that breast cancer rates increased to 5x the normal rate for women who lived near one of three nuclear power plants that they studied. The two others nuclear power plants doubled the incidence for those women living downwind from the reactors.

For decades the American public has been assured that there is very little chance that nuclear radiation escapes from the normal operation of a nuclear power plant. Yes, there may be catastrophic mishaps like Three Mile Island, or Chernobyl, or Fukushima, but absent those once-in-a-decade nuclear disasters, the people living near these plants have nothing to worry about … until now.

“Women living downwind from nuclear power plants are at five times greater risk of developing breast cancer, experts have warned.” [1]

The entire nuclear power industry was launched on the premise that they could be constructed so as to safely contain any and all radiation. Because so many nuclear reactors are relatively close to populated areas, this assumption was key to the promotion of nuclear power generation. If radionuclides could easily escape, then the whole business model and engineering paradigm would be fatally flawed.

“Other forms of cancer showing elevated levels included prostate, leukemia, mesothelioma and pancreas.” [1]

Scientific studies, such as this one conducted by Dr. Chris Busby, are rarely undertaken because the Nuclear Energy Industry would rather not know the true statistics. Were the facts surrounding nuclear discharges to become known to the general public there would be a groundswell of opposition to nuclear power plant sitings anywhere near densely populated areas.

Given that the worst cancer statistics concern carbon dioxide, gas-cooled graphite block reactors, in all likelihood they would be permanently shut down until a durable resolution could be implemented. It is this type of reactor that generates releases into the air which are higher than most other types of nuclear reactors.

Like the U.K., the U.S. nuclear power industry has also seen a great number of reported releases throughout the country over the past few decades. As these nuclear reactors age, they become the victim of a phenomenon known as technospheric breakdown[2]. Since many of them were constructed in the 1970s, those that have not been decommissioned have been operating for a long stretch of time. The average age of commercial reactors in the USA is 34 years.

In view of the extraordinary stresses which exist in the reactor environment, the 40-year license that is granted by the NRC seems far too long. There are several points of inherent weakness within the structural engineering of nuclear reactors, as well as within the controlled atomic fission process that were designed in what could now be described as the nuclear Stone Age. And, yet, the same fatally flawed nuclear energy paradigm is still being promoted worldwide today.

When more studies are conducted, which indicate a spike in cancer rates in locations which have a nuclear power plant nearby, governments across the planet will be forced to respond appropriately. After all, the presence of ionizing radiation will always manifest as various forms of cancer the longer a residential or business area is exposed to it.

Hence, governments will eventually be compelled to remedy the many compromised nuclear power stations which are frequently making these contaminating releases.  Not to do so will inevitably translate to an explosion in healthcare costs.

ConclusionJust as the Fukushima nuclear disaster has shown the complete folly of building nuclear power plants on one of the most seismically active (as well as tsunami-prone) group of islands in the world, there are now other well documented serious issues which ought to disqualify plants from being built. It would seem that those reactors with considerably higher rates of nuclear releases would qualify them as menaces to the community. Simply put, they shouldn’t even be there.

Additional Sources:

[1] Daily Mail

[2] The Millennium Report

June 28, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties, women | Leave a comment