Chris Busby on Radiation and Civil Society. Abstracts here: page 27: http://independentwho.org/media/Documents_IW/Forum_Radioprotection_English_Abstracts_IW_2012.pdf Dr. Christopher Busby (United Kingdom), British scientist, chemist and physicist specializing in adverse health effects of very low doses of ionizing radiation.
“In the 1990s in Britain and Europe there began to be increasing difficulty in obtaining official cancer incidence and mortality data for small areas. This followed and was probably related to the discovery by a TV company of a child leukaemia cluster near the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant, a discovery which began the investigation of the link between nuclear power and childhood cancer. In parallel, in the UK, and following an enquiry into the
Sellafield child leukemias in 1983 epidemiology began to focus on small area cancer statistics. In the UK a new agency was funded, the Small Area Health Statistics Unit, and Bayesian smoothing methods were developed to mathematically dismiss small area cancer clusters as being due to chance alone.
By the late 1990s all cancer registries in Europe had agreed to refuse to release small area data on the grounds of confidentiality, and so no independent epidemiological investigation of cancer rates near industrial or nuclear sites was possible. In order to get round this problem a method was developed employing data obtained directly from the public through interview and questionnaire, a similar approach to that historically used in third world countries or post-conflict situations where official registers are missing. Households in the study area are interviewed and fill out a questionnaire giving details of the sex and age of all residents in the house. The number of
cancers (or other illnesses) in the previous 10 years are also reported. This enables a Relative Risk and other statistics to be generated based on control populations. The method was piloted in Carlingford, Ireland in 2000, where it confirmed discoveries made in Wales of a sea coast effect on cancer.
It was next employed in Burnham on Sea downwind of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station where it confirmed results obtained in a separate mortality study of a doubling of breast cancer risk in the town and later employed in Wales by the HTV Company to look at cancer in Llan Ffestiniog downwind from the Trawsfynydd nuclear plant. Again high rates of breast cancer were found and a TV documentary was made. Most recently it was used in Fallujah, Iraq and reported in a scientific paper which has received considerable media attention.”