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[cdn-nucl-l] Baverstock says "gov't science perverted" to cover up rad risks?
The Sunday Herald (Scotland) article showing another 'government scientist'
(Keith Baverstock) continuing to perpetrate false information. Is he
following in the footsteps of KZ Morgan, John Gofman, et al.?
Regards, Jim Muckerheide
Radiation risk 'underplayed' to avoid compensation payouts
By Rob Edwards
Governments have deliberately downplayed the dangers of radiation so that
they can avoid paying compensation to veterans of nuclear tests and carry on
deploying depleted uranium (DU) weapons.
Dr Keith Baverstock, who was the World Health Organisation's senior
radiation adviser in Europe, says that science has been "perverted for
political ends" by government agencies which should be protecting public
"Politics, aided and abetted by some in the scientific community, has
poisoned the well which sustains democratic decision-making," he told a
conference on low-level radiation in Edinburgh yesterday.
Baverstock, now advising the UK government as a member of the Committee on
Radioactive Waste Management, delivered a fierce attack on government
scientists. He accused the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) of
"misusing" science in their studies of nuclear test veterans.
Over 21,000 members of the British armed services watched 46 nuclear tests
in Australia and the Pacific between 1952 and 1962. Many have since become
ill, and campaigned for compensation from the Ministry of Defence.
The MoD has rejected their claims on the grounds that there was no proof
that radiation from the tests made them sick. The ministry is backed by
three major studies carried out by the NRPB over the past 20 years, most
recently in 2002.
Yesterday, Baverstock alleged that there was a "serious flaw" in the NRPB's
methodology because as many as 15% of the veterans could be missing from the
studies. This could conceal an excess in cancer deaths, he said.
He pointed out that there was a lack of information on how much radiation
people had been exposed to. A statistical excess of leukaemia among the
veterans had also been dismissed as a "chance" finding.
"The conclusion is that the NRPB survey is deficient," he said. "Further
work needs to be done. It is sad that the NRPB, which should be an
independent body, was complicit ."
The NRPB, based at Didcot in Oxfordshire, strongly denied the accusation.
"We used standard methods for finding deaths and cases of cancer. These have
been used in hundreds of studies," said Gerry Kendal, head of population
exposure at the NRPB.
He maintained that to have introduced additional cases in an ad hoc way
would have produced "biased" results. The independent committee that oversaw
the research was happy with the approach that was taken, he added.
The 2002 NRPB study was originally challenged by Sue Roff, a senior research
fellow at Dundee University Medical School. She contended that up to 30% of
multiple myeloma cancer cases among veterans had been overlooked by the
"I'm not sure if this was a political or a scientific decision by the NRPB.
But it was certainly more of a comfort to the MoD than to veterans," she
Baverstock also accused the World Health Organisation of having "suppressed"
a report he wrote in 2001 highlighting the dangers of DU in Iraq. The Sunday
Herald revealed in February that the report predicted that DU from US and UK
weapons would increase cancer rates among adults and children in the
By downplaying the risks from radiation, government agencies had undermined
public trust in science and technology, he concluded. This was going to make
it much more difficult to find an acceptable solution to the problem of how
to dispose of radioactive waste from nuclear power stations.
04 July 2004