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I've received a copy of this report. Please provide any comments (and 

 I will forward them to the individual. I have the ENTIRE Word DOC, 

  including TABLES, if anyone is interested in receiving the file. 

                    Please let me know...       


                       RADIOACTIVE RELEASES 


                      AND THE LINK WITH CANCER




              The Radiation and Public Health Project



                           Toms River NJ

                          April 26, 2001 


RPHP Research Associates

Jay M. Gould, Ph.D., Director

Ernest J. Sternglass, Ph.D., Chief Scientist

Jerry Brown, Ph.D.

Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA

William McDonnell, MA

Marsha Marks, ACSW, LCSW

Janette Sherman, MD

                         EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Operations at the four nuclear reactors in New Jersey (Oyster Creek 

in Lacey Township, and Salem 1/2 and Hope Creek in Salem) have added 

considerable radioactivity to the local environment, raising the 

question of whether local residents have been harmed.  The Radiation 

and Public Health Project (RPHP) research group has investigated this 

issue, and has documented facts that suggest such harm is occurring.  

A number of these findings have been published in peer-reviewed 

medical journals.  

Radioactive Emissions The Oyster Creek reactor began operations on 

May 3, 1969, making it the oldest of the 103 U.S. reactors still in 

operation.  The Salem 1/2 and Hope Creek reactors began operations in 

1976, 1980, and 1986, respectively.  

Oyster Creek emitted 77.0 curies of airborne radioactivity in the 

period 1970-1993, the largest amount of any U.S. reactor.  

Environmental Levels of Radioactivity From 1979 to 1995, the level of 

radioactive chemicals in Trenton precipitation remained relatively 

constant, suggesting that a current source of emissions (nuclear 

power reactors) was supplementing and offsetting the decay of fallout 

from old nuclear bomb tests.  

Similarly, the average concentration of radioactive Strontium-90 in 

222 New Jersey baby teeth (106 from Ocean County) is relatively 

constant after 1980.  The current level is equal to that in the late 

1950s, when the U.S. and Soviet Union conducted large-scale nuclear 

weapons tests in the atmosphere.  

Annual emissions of four of five toxic chemicals in Ocean County have 

fallen from 1986 to 1996.  

Health Effects Current (1995-98) cancer incidence in Ocean and 

Monmouth County children under age five is 32.4% greater than the 

U.S. rate, and 30.6% greater than other New Jersey counties. Ocean 

and Monmouth lie directly downwind of the Oyster Creek reactor.  

Cancer mortality in Ocean and Monmouth County children under age 10 

rose 45.9% since the early 1980s, compared to declines if 35.3% and 

23.4% in the nation and the rest of New Jersey.  

The current cancer mortality rate age 0-9 in Ocean and Monmouth 

Counties is 74.1% higher than the U.S. and 54.0% higher than the rest 

of New Jersey.  

In persons over age 65 living in Salem and Gloucester Counties, death 

rates from cancers sensitive to bone-seeking radioactive chemicals 

like Strontium-90 soared from 1979-81 to 1996-98.  These cancers 

included leukemia (+130.4%), Hodgkin's Disease and non-Hodgkin's 

lymphoma (+115.2%), and multiple myeloma (+74.5%).  

Link Between Sr-90 in Teeth and Childhood Cancer In Ocean County, 

trends in cancer incidence age 0-4 and in Strontium-90 concentrations 

are similar (with a three-year lag period between).  This finding 

needs to be further tested using more teeth, but it suggests a 

potential cause-and-effect link between environmental radioactivity 

and cancer.  The Ocean County result is consistent with findings in 

Suffolk County NY, based on 488 teeth.  

Closed Reactors In downwind areas near eight U.S. reactors closed 

since 1987, infant mortality fell sharply in the first two years 

after shutdown (average -16.9%, compared to -6.4% in the U.S.).  

In three of the eight areas with available cancer incidence data, 

cancer incidence in children under age five fell after reactor 

closing (-25.0%, compared to +4.4% in the U.S.)  

In 1995-97, when the Salem 1 and 2 reactors were mostly shut down, 

the infant mortality rate in Salem and Gloucester counties fell -

31.3%, compared to -11.2% in the U.S. and -18.2% elsewhere in New 


In 1998, when the Salem reactors returned to normal operations, 

infant mortality in Salem and Gloucester increased +8.8%, while 

declining nationally (-2.4%) and in other New Jersey counties (-


Recommendations The recent evidence suggesting that radioactive 

chemicals emitted from Oyster Creek are one cause of elevated 

childhood cancer rates in New Jersey is significant and merits more 

detailed study.  

The Tooth Fairy Project will provide critical data on levels of in-

body radioactivity, which will allow researchers to better understand 

the link between environmental radiation and cancer, especially in 

young persons.  The Project is especially important in central New 

Jersey, which is the location of the nuclear reactor with the highest 

level of emissions in the U.S., and has above-average childhood 

cancer rates.  

Information on the radiation-cancer link should be considered in 

federal policies regulating the operation of nuclear reactors, in New 

Jersey and across the U.S.  

Information on the radiation-cancer link should be considered in the 

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's consideration of the 

environmental review of utility applications to renew and extend the 

licenses of aging nuclear power plants in New Jersey and across the 





Nuclear power reactors have been operating in the U.S. since 1957.  

Each of the 103 reactors currently operating in the U.S. (at 72 

plants) emits radioactive chemicals into the air and water, from 

routine operations and from accidents.  This radioactivity enters the 

food chain through precipitation, and is consumed by humans.  Most 

emissions involve chemicals that are not found in nature, but are 

produced only by atomic bomb explosions and nuclear reactor 


Of the 103 nuclear reactors, four are located in New Jersey.  The 

Oyster Creek reactor is situated in Lacey Township (southern Ocean 

County), and began operations in 1969.  Oyster Creek is the oldest of 

the 103 American reactors.  The Salem 1 and 2 reactors in Salem 

(southern Salem County) opened in 1976 and 1980, respectively.  The 

Hope Creek reactor, located on the same site, opened in 1986.  Six 

other reactors were once proposed for the state, but were later 

cancelled. (Table 1)  


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