Green Audit UK/ Environmental Research SIA, Latvia Low Level Radiation Campaign (UK) Press Release 10/10/2014: Immediate

Genetic effects in children and grandchildren of A-bomb test veterans
New study questions Japanese data underpinning current radiation risk model.

The results of a study of the health of children and grandchildren of stationed at the at Maralinga in Australia and Christmas Island in the Pacific will be published in the open peer-reviewed journal this week. (Abstract)

The study shows high incidence of genetic defects in the first and second generations born to Atomic test veterans and strongly suggests that these are caused by the fathers’ exposure to internal radiation from Uranium and Plutonium at the test sites. Christopher Busby and Mireille Escande de Messieres conducted (BNTVA) and compared congenital defects and cancer incidence with 311 control children and 498 control grandchildren of age-matched individuals. Results showed that, compared with controls:

  1. There was three times the number (105) of miscarriages in wives of veterans.
  2. There was 9.7 times adverse congenital conditions (57) in veteran children.
  3. There was 8.4 times adverse congenital conditions (46) veteran grandchildren.
  4. These rates were confirmed also by comparison with national EUROCAT data.
  5. The existence of the same highly statistically significant rate in both generations points to genomic instability as likely cause, a trans-generational genomic switch discovered after Chernobyl and shown in animal studies to affect many generations.
  6. The cause is argued to be Uranium, the main atom bomb constituent, which rained out at the test sites as sub micron particles in “black rain”. Recent research shows Uranium causes genomic effects at very low radiation doses because it binds to DNA and amplifies the radiation damage both through proximity and in other ways.
  7. Black rain of Uranium was also a feature of the Hiroshima bomb; Uranium has been measured several kilometers from the Hiroshima epicenter. The authors re-analyse adverse birth outcomes in the official Hiroshima database and show that rates in the control groups defined as “zero dose” have twice the post war all Japan rate.
  8. The Ministry of Defence, in arguing recent court cases, rely upon the fact that dosimeters at the test sites show low doses. However these devices do not register Uranium or other alpha emitters. Uranium was not looked for at the sites.
  9. The study findings are supported by similar genomic effects found in Iraq populations exposed to Depleted Uranium particles (e.g. Fallujah sex-ratio, cancer and birth defects), USA and UK Gulf veterans, Uranium miners and workers and Navajo and other local populations living near Uranium waste tailings. All of these groups show chromosome defects consistent with their exposures to Uranium.
Speaking from Riga, Latvia, Dr Busby remarks: This multi-generational effect is an unexpected finding. There are implications for the current radiation risk models which legally underpin all nuclear power development and also the use of radioactive weapons. Although weakly radioactive, when ingested and inhaled, Uranium has properties which enable it to directly damage DNA in ways that are not incorporated into current legislation. Uranium was not measured at the test sites and is not routinely measured near nuclear sites or in the environments either.
Contact:
Green Audit: Prof. Christopher Busby +44 7989428833; Riga +371 29419511
Low Level Radiation Campaign: Richard Bramhall +44 7887 942043 +44 1597 824771
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