RAISING THE DEAD
Report from Radioactive Times Volume 3, Number 2, October 1999 (content not updated)
Since LLRCís discovery that Dr Steward had taken 3000 cases off the WCR database he inherited, he has explained to Richard Bramhall that these cases were removed as a result of a validation exercise in which a 5% sample was apparently followed up by examining records and the annual percentage error found was then applied to the whole database. Besides begging a question about checking a sample from 1974, 25 years ago, this is a ludicrous exercise: what did it hope to achieve unless the cases were in environmentally embarrassing areas. However, close inspection of Stewards paper to COMARE reveals that removing a few adult cancer cases was only part of what happened. Steward's team have removed almost 20% of the total childhood cancer cases.In their Welsh Office publications of 1994 and 1992 Wales Cancer Registry totals for childhood cancer 0-14 between 1974 and 89 were 1192. The WCR small area files used by Green Audit show almost this number, 1188 cases. But Steward et alís COMARE paper give only 1006 cases, a shortfall of 18%. The removal of a fifth of all childhood cancers in Wales without explanation invites a some searching looks and raised eyebrows.
COMARE, of course, neglected to examine the issue closely, despite most of these questions being raised in letters to their Chairman, Bryn Bridges. This may have something to do with the bias that COMARE have toward the nuclear industry, a bias which is only restrained from wild excess by their need to appear sufficiently independent to continue to be permitted to continue to function on their remit as an independent watchdog.
Anyone who doubts this after reading of COMARE's ineptitude in the lead article in this issue should read the minutes of their March meeting. (on this site)
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