Embargoed until April 30, 2002 Contact: Scott Cullen, STAR: (516) 819-4886
Joseph Mangano, RPHP: (718) 857-9825
Kelly MacMillan (Brodsky): (914) 720-5206
INFANT DEATHS AND CHILDOOD CANCER DROP DRAMATICALLY
AFTER NUCLEAR PLANTS CLOSE
Long-term health benefits provide another reason to
end experiment with nuclear power
[New York, NY] - Dramatic declines in local infant death and childhood cancer rates occurred soon after the closing of eight nuclear power plants, according to a new report announced by New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, Radiation and Public Health Project, and the STAR Foundation. The study documents a 17.4% reduction in infant mortality in the downwind counties within 40 miles two years after reactor closing, compared to a national decline of just 6.4%. Large declines occurred in all eight areas near closed reactors, and remained above national trends for at least six years after closing. The information appears as an article published in the March/April 2002 edition of Archives of Environmental Health.
"We finally have reliable peer-reviewed accurate data attaching the nuclear power plants to death and injury in the host communities, this is a sobering and significant scientific study and we all need to take it seriously," stated New York State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky. "It is critical that more studies of this type be performed, so that we fully understand the risks posed by nuclear reactors," added Westchester County legislator Thomas Abinanti.
"Nuclear power is a failed experiment that is expensive and dangerous," said Scott Cullen, Executive Director of STAR. "This study confirms the best of public health principles: that when you remove a known cause of illness, health improves," said Cullen. "What is gratifying about the research is that it showed childhood health measures increasing so dramatically and quickly after the reactors closed and provides good news that we can strive towards."
In three of the eight areas with available data, cancer diagnosed in children less than five years of age declined 25.0% in the seven years after reactor closing, compared to a 0.3% increase nationally. Children exposed to radiation are of increased risk for cancer, says Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, the principal author of the study who is affiliated with the New York research group Radiation and Public Health Project.
This study is most relevant to New York City because over 8% of the nation's population lives within 50 miles of the Indian Point reactor. Counties downwind and within 40 miles of Indian Point include the Bronx, Dutchess, Manhattan, Nassau, Putnam, Queens, and Westchester in New York, and Fairfield County in Connecticut. Over 8.5 million persons live in these counties, where 110,000 babies are born each year.