Low Level Radiation Campaign


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Miscarriages and congenital conditions in children and grandchildren of veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test programme
Study reveals flaw in official radiation risk estimates

October 2014: A study of the families of British National Servicemen who were sent to atomic weapons test sites in the 1950s is published by Open Access Epidemiology on 29th September 2014. [Link to full text as HTML]
This study included 605 children and 749 grandchildren of members of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association and compared them with control families. It found

  • their wives suffered three times as many miscarriages as the controls
  • their babies were three times as likely to be stillborn
  • their surviving children had almost ten times as many birth defects and
  • were five times as likely to die as infants
Veterans' grandchildren
  • are eight times more likely to have birth defects and
  • are twice as likely to have childhood cancer.

Click here for LLRC's press release.

Alternative site for full report.

An article in The Ecologist in which Chris Busby describes the background of the study and its scientific significance.

Sunday Mirror report

Serious flaw in radiation risk estimates
The study report notes that, according to officially-recognised ICRP radiation risk models, the doses received by the veterans were too low to have caused the health effects found. It criticises the risk models since they are based on American-led studies of the A-bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) and later the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) examined disease in people who survived exposure to the immediate flash of radiation from the bombs. ABCC and RERF failed to use an appropriate control population. They ought to have compared the high dose and medium dose survivors with unexposed people in the rest of Japan. Instead they compared them with other inhabitants of the bombed cities who were lucky enough to have been somewhere else when the bombs fell - the so-called Not In City group (NIC). These NICs were considered to have received no dose at all. All three groups - high, medium and no dose - ate, drank and inhaled radioactive fallout and all three showed similar levels of cancer and genetic defects. The ABCC and RERF failed to compare them with the population of all Japan. When that comparison is done it shows substantial impacts; for example even the NIC "no dose" group at Hiroshima had twice the incidence of leukaemia found in the rest of Japan - a difference which persisted for nearly 20 years.

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