Radiation andPublic Health Project
Home About RPHP Projects Publications & Reports Journal Press Room


As published in the New York Times

August 17, 2002
Breast Cancer Study

To the Editor:

Re "What Causes Cancer: Can Science Find the Missing Link?" (Week in Review, Aug. 11):

Serious omissions were noted in the National Cancer Institute's study of possible environmental causes of breast cancer in Long Island women even before the study began, but the most critical was not addressing exposures to nuclear radiation.

Long Island is home to the leaking Brookhaven Lab and downwind from nuclear power reactors in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Residents have been exposed to more than 200 radioactive chemicals emitted during routine operation, including strontium 90, cesium 137 and iodine 131, all demonstrated carcinogens.

Many studies have linked nuclear releases with cancer and have shown synergism with chemicals in fine particles like cigarette smoke and diesel exhaust, which have been found to increase the risk of cancer. Radioactive isotopes are easily measured in tissues and the environment, but this research tool was dismissed for the study.

Alexandria, Va., Aug. 14, 2002
The writer is an internist and toxicologist.

< Back to Spotlight