BNFL welcomes cluster study

3 August 2002

BNFL has welcomed the results of a further study into the possible causes of previously identified "cancer clusters" in the area surrounding its Sellafield plant.

A BNFL spokesman said the results of the latest study - leukaemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma in children of male Sellafield radiation workers - were "overwhelmingly reassuring", and "further reinforced the growing scientific consensus that such clusters were largely due to the effects of population mixing." However, opponents of the nuclear industry say that the latest study appears to provide fresh statistical evidence to support the 1990 "Gardner hypothesis" of a direct link between increased cancer risk and higher levels of parental pre-conception irradiation (PPI).

The study confirmed there was a statistical association between the level of PPI and the risk of children contracting leukaemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. However, it stressed that the estimated excess risk was substantially lower than that identified by the 1990 study.

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