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Re: Babies Affected by Dads' X-Ray Exams

At 17:53 20-03-97 -0600, Charles Meyer  wrote:
>>Was there not a study done a few years ago, at Sellafield, or somewhere of
>>that sort, that purported to show something similar? I.e., that irradiation
>>of fathers, shortly before conception, led to some (I don't remember what)
>>outcome in their progeny.
>I believe the conclusions of that report were found to be 
>inconceivable, 'scuze the pun.
The Gardner report on incidence of Leukemias near the Sellafield
reprocessing plant (1990) reported a weak statistical link between childhood
leukemia and a number of parental occupations, one of which was employment
at Sellafield.  The study concluded that there was a weak statistical link
between the father's pre-conception dose and childhood leukemia.  At the
time of the report it was acknowledged that there was no known biological
mechanism which would account of for the statistical link and the
significance of the link was based on only 4 cases.  Martin Gardner did
acknowledge that the results represented a weak statistical link which may
or may not indicate a real relation and that further work was required to
investigate the postulated link.  (The media did not however get this point
across when the study results were released)

The UK Health and Safety Executive conducted a more detailed case control
study to follow up on the results of the Gardner study (1993).  This showed
that no link with pre-conception dose generally but showed a possible link
between pre-conception dose for fathers who lived in Seascale.   

This, unfortunately, is all the details I can remember.  But the gist is
that the Gardner study, although famous (or infamous) is now acknowledged to
have been incorrect in its conclusions.

David Hambley

David I Hambley
Senior Safety Engineer, Nuclear Safety Unit
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Private Mailbag 1, Menai, NSW 2234
e-mail: d.hambley@ansto.gov.au        
Tel:   (02) 9717 3236		
Fax:   (02) 9717 9264