N tests cause cancer?
RADIOACTIVE fallout from it War nuclear testing exposed virtually everyone in the United States, and contributed to about 11,000 cancer deaths, an unpublished study by the national Centres for Disease Control and Prevention concludes.
The radioactive exposure also contributed to a minimum of 22,000 US cancer cases over all, according to a progress reports the CDC provided Congress last year. The report first came to light in USA Today on Thursday.
The study is the first to consider the health effects of nuclear detonations including those performed by foreign countries between 1951 and 1962, when above ground testing was banned. It is also the first to consider forms of radioactive fallout other than iodine-131, the most serious public health threat pose by atmospheric nuclear tests.
A 1997 assessment by the National Cancer Institute found that 11,300 to 212,000 thyroid cancers could have been caused by iodine- 131 produced in nuclear explosions at the Neveda Test Site. The new CDC research does not challenge that result, and suggest iodine-131 fallout is responsible for almost all ill health effect from nuclear testing.
The CDC report does concede, however, that nuclear testing has been responsible for about 550 leukemia deaths since 1951.
The number of cancer cases attributable to nuclear testing is small, relative to other causes.
For example, among the 3.8 million fallout levels in their most vulnerable early years, testing is expected to account for an estimated 1,000 additional cancer deaths. Smoking, in comparison, is expected to account for about 25,000 cancer deaths in the same groups, Ap.