Synthesis/Regeneration 10   (Spring 1996)

Breast Cancer, AIDS, Low Birthweights, and Other Radiation-Induced Immune Deficiency Diseases

The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors

by Jay M. Gould & members of the Radiation and Public Health Project

The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors
Four Walls Eight Windows, New York, $14.95 plus mailing. For copies call 1-800-626-4848.

The Enemy Within is a 300-page companion volume to Deadly Deceit: Low-Level Radiation High Level Cover-up (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1991). It features maps showing mortality trends since 1950 for all counties within 100 miles of each of 60 nuclear reactor sites. The book reveals many facts long withheld from public knowledge.

According to official data from the National Cancer Institute on age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rates for every county since 1950, there is an enormous geographic variation in such rates which supports Rachel Carson's prediction that manmade fission products like radioactive strontium are the "sinister partners" with industrial chemicals in inducing cancer.

There are about 1700 rural counties located mainly between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River with low levels of rainfall and low exposures to both industrial chemicals and nuclear reactor emissions with a combined age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate as low as 22 deaths per 100,000 women. At the other extreme, the nation's highest rates (over 32 deaths per 100,000) are found in the affluent counties near nuclear reactors, such as Westchester and Long Island, which are exposed to the nation's highest per-capita levels of emissions from nuclear reactors at Indian Point in Westchester, Millstone on the Long Island Sound and the Brookhaven National Lab in Suffolk County, New York.

These figures illuminate recent whistle blower disclosures of scandalous mishandling of radioactive waste at Millstone carried in the March 4, 1996 Time magazine cover story "Blowing the whistle on nuclear safety." Similar disclosures at the Brookhaven National Lab were telecast to millions in the New York metropolitan area, leading to a collapse of Long Island property values near the Lab and a consequent mounting of class action suits against the Laboratory, with Senator D'Amato calling for a Senate investigation.

Breast cancer mortality rates are increasing most rapidly today in the 14 counties in which the nation's oldest Department of Energy reactors were built prior to 1950. The combined age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate in these 14 counties has increased since 1950 at a rate 37 times greater than the corresponding national rate: in Suffolk county the increase is 40 times greater.

Women living in about 1320 counties within 100 miles of all 60 military and civilian reactors are shown to be subject to a "statistically significant" added risk because of the exacerbating effects of ingesting reactor emissions, in addition to above average rainfall levels and exposure to chemical pollutants.

The current combined age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate in these counties is 26 deaths per 100,000 women, in contrast to 22 deaths in the remaining rural counties far from reactor emissions. The probability that this difference could be due to chance is less than one out of a number larger than all the atoms in the universe! This proves that environmental factors, including ionizing radiation, rather than genetic or heredity factors, account for these huge geographic differences in breast cancer mortality.

The official county data, compiled at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars, are published here for the first time as tables and maps, and will be made available on floppy disks to those readers with personal computers wishing to ascertain the added risk wherever they live. The book includes advice on how to calculate combined cancer mortality rates for any desired combination of counties to achieve statistical significance and how to adjust such rates for differences in age.

The book reveals how the National Cancer Institute, established by President Nixon in 1971 to "war against cancer," has systematically misrepresented the significance of the county cancer data used here.

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently admitted that thousands of humans were used as unwitting guinea pigs to test the health effects of ingesting fission products never found in nature prior to 1945. Even more revealing was a recently unpublicized DOE admission that in 1945 in the haste to produce plutonium for the first atomic bombs, the Hanford Nuclear Weapons plant released a volume of radioactive iodine into a pristine atmosphere of the magnitude of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986—the worst accident in human history.

This throws additional light on the many radiation-induced epidemiological anomalies first discussed in Deadly Deceit and some new ones never before examined. For example, according to the Connecticut Cancer Registry, breast and thyroid cancer incidence, after declining in the pre-nuclear period 1935-44, began to rise in 1945 at a rate resulting in a nearly three-fold increase in breast cancer incidence by 1990, and a five-fold increase for thyroid cancer.

The post-war increase in low birthweight babies began with the start of the Nuclear Age in 1945. The percentage of live births weighing less than 5.5 lbs in New York State rose 40 percent from 1945 to a 1965 peak as a result of exposure to fallout from super power above-ground bomb tests equivalent to exploding 40,000 Hiroshima bombs. The 20 year rise in the percentage of baby boomer live births weighing less than 5.5 lbs was perfectly correlated with the corresponding rise in radioactive strontium found in human bone.

With the cessation of above ground bomb tests, both indicators began to improve after 1965 until emissions from civilian reactors, especially after the Three Mile Island (TMI) and Chernobyl accidents of 1979 and 1986, caused a renewed deterioration in infant health.

Since 1979 there have been sharp increases in low birthweights and other indications of deteriorating infant viability. For example rates of newborn hypothyroidism have been increasing by six percent each year since 1986, associated with increased radioactive iodine in milk and water. Since 1990, the EPA has inexplicably ceased publishing measures of radioactivity of milk and water, after three decades of monitoring such radioactivity in each state.

Since the 1979 TMI accident, there has been a 20% increase in breast cancer incidence among younger women aged 35 to 50, which for the first time ever matched the increase among women over 50.

The bomb test damage to the immune response of a significant portion of the 75 million baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965 emerged later as they grew to maturity. For example in 1963 when those born in 1945 reached the age of 18, a "mysterious" 20 year decline in SAT scores began which only started to turn up in the 1980s when the SAT exams were taken by children born after 1965.

In 1970, when baby boomers reached the age of 25, another inexplicable two-decade rise began in the number of baby boomers dropping out of the labor force, classified as "not seeking work."

This represents another delayed manifestation of the bomb test harm to the baby boom generation, born in the "worst time in history."

In 1980, when baby boomers reached the age of 35, the book observes that another "inexplicable" epidemic increase emerged in the form of immune deficiency diseases of young people like AIDS and breast cancer. Since the 1979 TMI accident, there has been a 20% increase in breast cancer incidence among younger women aged 35 to 50, which for the first time ever matched the increase among women over 50.

The book investigates international comparisons of mortality rates of baby boomers to show that the greatest deterioration occurred in the 1980s in the US, UK, France and USSR. Ironically there is no deterioration evident in the rates for Germany and Japan. Since the health of the baby boom generation is a crucial factor in economic productivity, it is ironic that the nations that lost World War II were precluded from exposing their progeny to the emissions from the manufacture and testing of nuclear weapons, and can therefore be said to have won World War III!

The book discusses how the class action suits resulting from releases at Hanford, Three Mile Island and in Long Island show how official cancer mortality data, long concealed from public view, can be used to mobilize local business support for grass roots opposition to the nuclear white elephants that contribute to the decline of public health and the continued viability of the American economy.

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