AW: [ RadSafe ] Child cancer risk higher near German nuclear plants

Rainer.Facius at Rainer.Facius at
Thu Dec 13 04:10:32 CST 2007


looking at the map published in the study my (not complete) knowledge of the areas involved suggests to me that no clear preference of NPP locations between urbanized vs. rural regions is apparent. Of course, the close vicinity to metropolitan areas like Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg etc. has been left out.

Given the generally accepted high professionalism of the study team, I would not expect that one of the common confounders has been neglected. In fact, they candidly and carefully present all the methodological shortcomings they encountered during the execution of the study and of course potential confounders. The only exception apparent to me is the "population mixing" cause. It has not been forgotten. Indeed, for all locations they present graphs displaying the migration balance which in general show a significantly increased influx during the early 1990s. They ascribe these migrations to the German reunification. Yet, they did not consider this as relevant for their analysis. As a rational for this omission they declare: 

"Es besteht kein Grund, diese Bevölkerungswanderungen zu berücksichtigen, da keine Beziehung zwischen Zu- und Wegzügen und den Betriebszeiträumen der Kernkraftwerke zu beobachten ist" 

("There is no reason to account for these migrations since no relations to the operation times of the NPPs are observable." )

Presently I don't have time to assess what they consider a justification for their omission, but an omission it is and my straightforward reading of their sentence does not justify it.

Regards, Rainer 

Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at [mailto:radsafe-bounces at] Im Auftrag von Bjorn Cedervall
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 12. Dezember 2007 08:53
An: radsafe at
Betreff: RE: [ RadSafe ] Child cancer risk higher near German nuclear plants

Can anyone in Radsafers Land summarize the characteristics of the closer environment around the German nuclear power plants? Is it about country side environments or urbanized or whatever?
What I am after is the degree of general industrialization, roads, old waste dumps (which may or may not be toxic but contribute to an ugly looking area) and so on.
If there indeed is a less attractive character of any area - this may not attract those who are wealthy - and as a consequence low-income households may instead dominate such areas - people who have a lifestyle that increases the risk for childhood leukemias (For reference, see Peters et al., Cancer Causes and Control, 1994: A VERY strong correlation between hot dog consumption and leukemias among Californian children - the hot dog is in this latter case probably an indicator of a larger complex of "bad" factors).
A known or unknown confounder not taken into account may totally distort a statistical analysis which is based on some other hypothetical factor: perhaps some epidemiologists here at Radsafers could help here with some numbers and rules of thumb.
My personal initiative & reflection only,
Bjorn Cedervall    bcardsafers at
i'm is proud to present Cause Effect, a series about real people making a difference.
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