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Nuclink: Journal of Current Radiation and Public Health Issues

Volume 1, Number 6
November 15, 2000
Published by RPHP
PO Box 60 Unionville, NY 10988
Editor: William McDonnell
http://www.radiation.org


FURTHER OBSERVATIONS ON STRONTIUM-90 IN BABY TEETH AND EARLY CHILDHOOD CANCER
Jay M. Gould, Ernest J. Sternglass, Janette D. Sherman, William McDonnell Joseph J. Mangano and Jerry Brown

Abstract
Following an initial study of Strontium-90 concentrations in deciduous (baby) teeth of 515 children born mainly after 1980 and collected in 1997-1999, by August of 2000 the corresponding total number analyzed was close to 1500. Results of the latest analysis confirm the major trends of the first study, mainly that the average levels equal the concentrations found in St. Louis baby teeth born in peak years of the atmospheric nuclear bomb test period in the 1950s.

Teeth from persons born after 1965 confirm the downward trend displayed by the St. Louis teeth from 1965-1970 after the passage of the Partial Test ban in 1963. With only about two dozen teeth from persons born between 1970, when the St. Louis study was terminated, to 1979, our results for the period 1970-79 do not show the expected continued decline to undetectable trace levels. By the early 1990's, our observed average and peak levels are an order of magnitude higher than the trace levels expected after the termination of all nuclear weapons tests.

In Suffolk county in Long Island, analysis of approximately 500 teeth from children born since 1980 (continuing from 300 in the earlier study) show an even more significant correlation with cancer incidence of children aged 0 to 4 years of age, with some indications that we may ultimately find similar correlations in areas near the troubled Oyster Creek and Indian Point reactors.

Sr90 average levels in some Zip code areas near reactors, as in the case of Dade county in FL, are nearly twice the average level found in the greater New York metropolitan area, but far more teeth will be needed to evaluate the significance of proximity to reactors.

It is also clear that our sampling procedure lacks coverage of Asiatic and Hispanic children whose teeth, for dietary reasons, may have unusually high levels of calcium and therefore low Sr90 ratios to calcium. We also lack representation of Black children, whose baby teeth Sr90 levels may be severely elevated because of diet and poor nutrition.

Finally it has been found that, when reactors close, there is not only sharp improvements in infant mortality (that may be ultimately supported by analysis of Sr90-levels in children born after closing) but there is an even more significant improvement in cancer mortality rates of those over 65, which can be shown to emphasize the significance of proximity to reactor emissions.

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