a follow-up comment I posted to Radsafe......
From: Franta, Jaroslav
Sent: Thursday December 16, 2004 9:21 AM
Subject: RE: Dr. Durakovic at Port Hope
Regarding cancer in Port Hope, it may be of interest to refer to the Health Canada study :
June 17, 2002
STUDY SHOWS NO CANCER EFFECTS IN PORT HOPE
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission released a medical study on June 17 that found that overall cancer rates in Port Hope, Ontario were comparable to cancer rates throughout the province of Ontario.
The study was subjected to scientific and independent peer review before publication.
The study, carried out by Health Canada, reviewed the incidence of cancer, particularly those types of cancer most prone to radiation propagation, for the years 1956-1997. Its finding of no excess of cancer in Port Hope was consistent with earlier studies of the town.
Cancer studies have been of interest in the Port Hope and surrounding communities because of concerns regarding the long term presence of low level waste from the radium and uranium refineries dating back to the 1930s.
- - - - - - -
Copies of the Port Hope Cancer effects report from Health Canada can be requested via phone or email from the CNSC at:
Also interesting is this editorial, from a local newspaper, published at the time of the release of the above study:
Radiation risk in Port Hope appears to be negligible
Port Hope Evening Guide Fri 05 Jul 2002
Brian Parr is a member of the Evening Guide's Community Editorial Board. Columns from editorial board members appear every Friday.
The long-running debate over low-level radioactive waste would be redundant if all the facts were known.
The Port Hope Area Initiative Workshop on "alternate means" on June 26 was well-attended, and discussion was lively, if not always positive. As is often the case, those who seemed least knowledgeable about health, physics and radiation issues were loudest in their opposition, although a small minority of informed people also elected to paint an alarmist picture.
In Port Hope, there has been irresponsibility and carelessness in the past. On a tour of Cameco last year I saw photographs of handling methods for radium from the 1930s or 1940s that made me shudder, but today things are tightly controlled, and Cameco represents less of a hazard to the environment than many other industries whose activities are less closely monitored.
How serious is the radiation problem in Port Hope? The clean-up criterion for gamma radiation is 100 microRoentgens/hour, approximating to 1 microSievert/hour. The Federal Assessment of Waste Sites (1994) lists gamma radiation levels of over 100 microRoentgens/hour at the Alexander Street ravine, in the Waterworks area and between the railway viaducts, and less than 100 microRoentgens/hour at the Fire Fighters Museum site. At the Pine Street extension site there is sufficient soil cover to shield direct gamma radiation and to prevent upward radon migration with the exception of one very small localize dare. The highest calculated annual radiation dose for normal usage at the clean-up sites was 48 microSieverts above background, in the area between the viaducts. This compares with the proposed allowable annual dose to the public from nuclear facilities of 1,000 microSieverts and normal exposure in Port Hope, which is about 1,700 microSieverts.
Statistically, it has been calculated that exposure to an additional 5 rem/year (50,000 microSieverts/year) for 30 years will reduce average life expectancy by 150 days. For comparison, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day will reduce average life expectancy by 2,370 days (6.5 years).
The risk from radiation in our town therefore appears to be negligible. This is supported by the Report on Cancer and General Mortality in Port Hope, 1956-1997, which confirms that cancer deaths in Port Hope are in line with provincial averages. The absence of excess leukemia rates in children reinforces this view, because risk coefficients for childhood leukemia are relatively high, making it an early indicator of problems.
......the ridiculous Northumberland News article about Durakovic's Port Hope appearance reminded me of an anecdote I read a few years back, concerning uranium mining in Canada (from a paper presented by H J M Spence at the Fourteenth International Symposium held by the Uranium Institute in London, September 1989) :
Grandfather and the Great Bear
From a historical perspective, the key person in my family's uranium connection is my grandfather, Hugh Swaine Spence, a graduate of the Royal Saxon School of Mines (Königliche Sächsische Bergakademie), who in 1910 left his home in Devon, England, to join the Canadian government's Mines Branch.
On 16 May 1930, a day when his partner remained in their base camp on Echo Bay to recover from snowblindness, Labine discovered pitchblende, as well as the silver he was seeking, at what was to become Port Radium on Labine Point.10 He and his partner were joined that summer by another Eldorado party that made the trip to the Great Bear by boat.
Initial confirmation of what Labine had found - ore containing up to 53 per cent uranium oxide - came by radio in August following analysis in Toronto of hand-picked samples flown out from the site by a rival firm.
Grandfather visited the site in August and September 1931 and was much impressed, actually finding a pitchblende vein himself.11 As he was a government official, his reports on Labine's find legitimized the discovery and led to worldwide publicity about Canada's great good fortune.
A health hazard you say?
Grandfather retired from the Mines Branch in 1949 after 39 years service. His final contribution to the Canadian uranium mining industry was a guide for uranium and thorium prospectors. For nearly 30 years, until he died of natural causes in March 1978, he lived in quiet retirement in his large, three storey house in the centre of Ottawa, whose musty, spooky basement I explored as a child, marvelling at the hundreds of heavy, grey canvas sample bags piled hither and thither. His private mineral collection, including samples from Great Bear Lake and everywhere else he'd been, was described as priceless, albeit by a kind old friend.
One can imagine his puzzlement in 1976 when, at the start of Canada's radioactive contamination remedial programme, an Atomic Energy Control Board health physicist tracked him down to advise over the telephone in terribly serious mien that he possessed a rock collection whose radon emissions posed a significant long-term risk to his health. I suspect he just lit another cigarette and topped up his glass of hard stuff, two vices he pursued with vigour in later years.
A phlegmatic, even cavalier reaction? For Canada's expert on radium and uranium ores, veteran of the Great Bear, and one of the last of the classical mineralogists, perhaps being 91 years old had something to do with it.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday December 15, 2004 11:47 AM
Subject: Dr. Durakovic at Port Hope
Here is a link to the news story:
It appears to me to be a biased article in a mainstream newspaper. Here is the lead paragraph:
"Inhalation of radioactive isotopes is extremely dangerous to human health, said the director of an independent, non-profit organization that provides objective, expert scientific and medical research into the effects of uranium exposure."
I wonder if the reporter did a fact check on the "objective, expert scientific and medical research" that Dr. Durakovic has performed.
Here are some self-serving self-descriptions of Dr. Durakovic quoted in the article:
Port Hope is not alone when it comes to political resistance of keeping the truth of the dangers of uranium exposure away from the people, said Dr. Durakovic. It happens all around the world... in Russia, in the United States, in China, in Germany, and in Africa, he noted.
"In the name of truth, in the name of science, I am obligated as a medical doctor to provide for public health regardless of political consequences," he says. "I'm not an activist, just a scientist and medical doctor and I'm here to tell you the truth."
I guess that if he is correct then the overwhelming majority of scientists are liars and conspirators. Only he brings "truth" to the people.
Have any of us ever felt it necessary to describe ourselves the way Dr. Durakovic describes himself? "He doth protest too much!"
I think that it would be tragic if any Port Hope resident forks over $1500 per test to Dr. Durakovic's pet German laboratory for bioassay studies that are totally unnecessary.
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