Research News

Risk of leukaemia is no higher in children living near UK nuclear sites, finds report

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5337 (Published 03 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5337
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London

Children living near two nuclear sites in the United Kingdom, Sellafield and Dounreay, showed no increase in risk of leukaemia or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a new analysis of cancer rates from 1991 to 2006 has shown.1

The report’s authors said that the increased incidence of these cancers found in earlier years may have been associated with exposure to infections as people from elsewhere moved into these previously isolated rural areas.

The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) has been investigating possible cancer clusters around nuclear installations for the past 30 years. A report in 1984 found an increased incidence of leukaemia in under 25s living in Seascale, a village near the Sellafield nuclear site in northwest England. A second report in 1988 found higher rates of leukaemia in children and young people living near the Dounreay nuclear site in Caithness, Scotland, compared with the …

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