London (ISJ): Children living near nuclear plants do not face any increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, according to a new study. The study by Childhood Cancer Research Group in Oxford analysed medical records of about 10,000 children below the age of five, who were diagnosed with leukaemia or similar cancers in Britain between 1962 and 2007.
The scientists measured the distance from the nearest nuclear power plant both at the time of their birth and when they were diagnosed of the disease and came to the conclusion, there is no apparent extra risk to children living near nuclear power plant.
The findings were published in the British Journal of Cancer. The study was done after campaigners raised concerns about links between nuclear installations to higher cancer risk.
?The incidence of childhood leukaemia near nuclear installations in Great Britain has been a concern ever since the 1980s when an excess of cancer in young people near Sellafield was reported in a television programme,? said Dr. John Bithell of the Childhood Cancer Research Group and lead author of the study.
?Since then, there have been conflicting reports in the UK and Europe as to whether there is an increased incidence of childhood cancer near nuclear power plants. Our case-control study has considered the birth records for nearly every case of childhood leukaemia born in Britain and, reassuringly, has found no such correlation with proximity to nuclear power plants,? he added.
Cancer Research UK welcomed the findings, but said radiation levels and cancer rates around plants still had to be monitored as it was not possible to rule out risks entirely.
?It?s heartening that this study supports the findings of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare) ? that being born or living near a nuclear power station doesn?t lead to more cases of leukaemia and similar cancers in children under five in the UK,? said Hazel Nunn, Cancer Research UK?s head of health information.
?But these results can?t rule out any possible risk, so it?s still important that we continue to monitor both radiation levels near nuclear power plants and rates of cancer among people who live close by,? added Nunn.
Leukaemia is the 12th most common cancer in the UK, but accounts for a third of all cancers diagnosed in children. Around 500 new cases were diagnosed in children under the age of 15 in 2010 in the UK.