CANCER-CAUSING RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL FOUND IN WESTCHESTER CHILDREN'S
[Buchanan, NY] Today, at a Westchester County Health Committee meeting, Alec Baldwin and independent scientists from the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) and STAR (Standing for Truth About Radiation) testified that teeth from the area near the Indian Point nuclear power plant have the highest concentrations of radioactivity found to date. The initial results from Westchester County discovered unexpectedly high radioactive Strontium-90 (Sr90) levels in area teeth, suggesting that these emissions may increase the cancer risk to local residents.
Levels of radioactive Strontium-90 in the teeth of children living near Indian Point are similar to those found in children born in 1956-57, when the U.S. government conducted large-scale nuclear weapons tests over the Nevada desert. After President Kennedy signed the 1963 treaty banning all above-ground tests, SR-90 levels declined, but were unchanged through the 1980-90's. This pattern suggests that continuing emissions from reactors like Indian Point are preventing these levels from declining further. Strontium-90, a man-made element that was first introduced into nature as a byproduct of atomic bomb tests, is also produced by fission in nuclear reactors. It enters the body through drinking water and food, concentrating in bones and teeth.
"In the teeth we have tested of children born in Westchester since 1980, an average concentration of SR-90 has been found that is roughly equivalent to that in children born 1956-57, in the midst of atomic bomb tests above the Nevada desert," stated Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA and National Director of the Tooth Fairy Project.
"These findings are cause for concern because young children are particularly sensitive to toxins such as radioactivity," added Mangano. "The 1985-96 rate of cancer diagnosed in Westchester children under age 15 is 26% higher than that of the US," said Mangano. "The bottom line is that we need more teeth to better evaluate if there is a link between exposure to SR-90 in the environment and cancer. In Suffolk County, NY (home of the now-closed Brookhaven reactors run by the US Department of Energy), cancer in children under age five rises as Sr90 in baby teeth rises, and declines as Sr90 concentrations decline," concluded Mr. Mangano.
Edward Smeloff, Executive Director of the Pace Law School's Energy Project, and Mark Jacobs of Westchester Public Action Committee (WESPAC) joined RPHP and STAR in requesting that findings on in-body levels of radioactivity and links to disease be considered in determining future operations at Indian Point.
The plant's reactor #2, operated by Con Edison beginning in 1973, has been closed since the February 15 accident involving a ruptured tube in a steam generator. Reactor #3 (operated by the New York Power Authority) opened in 1976, while reactor #1 ran from 1962-1974.
Joe Mangano may be