Nuclink: Journal of Current Radiation and Public Health Issues
3, Number 1
note from the editor:
MILESTONE 3500th TOOTH TESTED FOR RADIATION LEVEL
In late 2002, we tested our 3500th baby tooth for the concentration of radioactive Strontium-90 (Sr-90). Our study is perhaps the largest examination of radiation levels in the human body since the 1958-70 baby tooth study in St. Louis.
Most teeth are from five states (California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania). In each state, two findings were consistent:
suggest strongly that reactor emissions are contributing substantially
to the radiation burden in the body. Sr-90 attacks the bone and
penetrates to the bone marrow, where white blood cells critical
to the immune response are formed. Thus, Americans may be at
increasing risk for diseases such as cancer, birth defects, thyroid
disease, and other immune-related disorders. And actually, Sr-90
is only one of 100-plus harmful chemicals that are emitted by
reactors and enter the body.
STUDY MANDATED BY WESTCHESTER (NY) COUNTY PRESENTED
On October 23, 2002, we presented local results of its baby tooth study to legislators of Westchester County, NY. Westchester became the first government agency to support our efforts when it appropriated $25,000 for the study of Sr-90 in baby teeth near the Indian Point nuclear power plant located in northwest Westchester.
Similar to national findings, average Sr-90 levels in Westchester baby teeth were the highest of any county in southern New York. The average found in Westchester teeth rose steadily since the late 1980s. Results were covered by multiple New York media, since the public is increasingly concerned about a potential terrorist attack against Indian Point, located only 35 miles north of Manhattan. Late last year, Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano announced his support of a $500,000 feasibility study to convert Indian Point from a nuclear to a natural gas plant.
RPHP BEGINS TESTING TEETH FROM CHILDREN WITH CANCER
We have tested Sr-90 levels in 47 baby teeth from persons diagnosed with cancer as children. Over 40% of these are from Florida, where RPHP received a special grant to seek out pediatric oncology hospital units to help collect teeth.
While more teeth are needed before official figures can be released to the public, the average Sr-90 level of these 47 teeth are considerably higher than that of healthy children the same age residing in the same area. We are now seeking out teeth in the New York City area from children with cancer. This is the first known "case-control" study in nearly 40 years examining in-body radiation levels for sick vs. healthy persons.
About two-thirds of the "cancer teeth" are from children with leukemia or brain cancer. National rates of these two conditions have risen 44% and 50% since 1975.
NEW MEDICAL JOURNAL ARTICLE TO BE PUBLISHED
The latest article written by our staff will be published in the spring by the journal Archives of Environmental Health. The article addresses the childhood cancer rate over the past decade, which exceeds the national average in counties near 14 eastern U.S. nuclear power plants and may well be the most comprehensive published study of childhood cancer incidence near U.S. nuclear reactors.
ALEC BALDWIN SPEAKS AT ANNUAL MEETING
On October 3, the well-known actor and long-time RPHP supporter Alec Baldwin was the keynote speaker at our annual meeting, held in New York City. Baldwin stressed the importance of our scientific research as crucial evidence in the current national debate about the health and safety threats posed by nuclear reactors.
PATCH ADAMS ENDORSES GROUP
We recently received an enthusiastic endorsement from Dr. Hunter "Patch" Adams of the Gesundheit Institute. Patch Adams, whose life was profiled in a 1998 feature film starring Robin Williams, has become a passionate speaker for social causes, including the risks of nuclear reactors. Dr. Adams wrote
GARY NULL DOCUMENTARY FEATURES RPHP RESEARCHERS
Nationally-known nutritionist and environmentalist Gary Null has completed a television documentary "Fatal Fallout" on the history of the health threat posed by atomic power in the U.S. The 90-minute piece features RPHP Board members Jay Gould, Ernest Sternglass, and Joseph Mangano, along with numerous other radiation experts. Null is seeking interest from PBS stations to air the piece, and is also scheduling the documentary at film festivals and movie theaters around the nation.
METHODOLOGY FOR ST. LOUIS STUDY DEVELOPED
We have prepared a plan to begin studying the health risks of atomic bomb test fallout to St. Louis residents born in the late 1950s. We will first study a sample of several thousand boys born in St. Louis from 1958-60, who donated incisors with no decay and who were not breast-fed. Results will show if Baby Boomers with the highest Sr-90 levels in baby teeth had the greatest risk of dying or developing cancer by their early 40s. The project began when Washington University in St. Louis found 85,000 untested teeth left over from the original baby tooth study conducted from 1958-70.