A report issued by the Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP) states that cancer incidence rates in the four counties closest to the Indian Point nuclear plant have risen more rapidly than in other parts of the country. The report indicates that if local rates had followed national trends, the area would have seen 20,000 fewer diagnosed with the disease. Counties included in the study were Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester, where about 9,000 residents are diagnosed with cancer each year. “Cancer incidence rates in counties closest to Indian Point were 11 percent below the U.S. two decades ago, but now is 7 percent above” said Joseph Mangano.
Mangano, executive director of the New York-based RPHP, said “There are reasons for this gap and one that should be considered is continuing radioactive emissions from Indian Point.” The group used data from the New York State Cancer Registry (for county cancer rates) and the National Cancer Institute (for national rates.) The report compared cancer rates for the 5-year period of 1988-92 with later 5-year periods of 1993-97, 1998-02 and 2003-07. Unexpected rises occurred for 19 of 20 major cancer types. The greatest increase was found in the local rate for thyroid cancer, which has moved from 13 percent below the national rate to 51 percent above. There are no known causes other than exposure to radioactive iodine, which is produced in nuclear reactor operations. The report considers its findings “consistent and statistically significant” and an indication that one or more factors are causing local cancer rates to increase: in this case, proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant.
The full report may be found here.
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