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Closing Indian Point a public-health issue
Joseph J. Mangano, MPH, MBA

Letters To The Editor
Westchester (NY) Journal News
Thursday, February 19, 2009

Greg Clary rightly asserts that "it's time for the anti-nuclear people to put their resources into figuring out real alternatives to nuclear power." ("Getting to the truth on Indian Point," Friday Earth Watch column). Yes, merely pointing out the problem is not enough. We should proceed with a plan of safe alternative energy, conservation, and more efficient use of electricity with no further delay.

But waiting for the solution means more unneeded suffering. My presentation of new data on thyroid cancer, obtained from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://statecancerprofiles.cancer.gov/) at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing last week in Cortlandt Manor is just the latest in a series of findings that cancer rates near Indian Point are unusually high. Thyroid cancer rates in Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties are among the highest in the U.S., according to the CDC.

Yes, developing a plan for "real alternatives" to nuclear power is important - but in the meantime, is there anything as important as our well-being, especially our children's? Prior research shows that closing nuclear plants results in rapid and drastic reductions in local child cancer and infant mortality rates. Seeing that a child goes through infancy and childhood in a happy home without needing a neonatal intensive care unit or a hospital pediatric cancer unit should be the primary goal.

A sound approach to energy policy is important, but it can't hold a candle to public health.

Joseph J. Mangano
Ocean City, N.J.
The writer is executive director, Radiation and Public Health Project.

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