Northumberland & News Review, July 7 & 9, 2009
Selective citation in Lemstra report
North Cumberland Today: Tue Jul 7 2009
The News Review: Thur July 9 2009
Section Letters to the Editor
Byline: Patrick Moore
Mark Lemstra’s report “Exposure to radiation and health outcomes” (“Nuke Workers face higher cancer rates, study says”, July 2) fails to distinguish between hypothetical risk and actual outcomes.
Lemstra focuses exclusively on the hypothetical risk of nuclear energy while ignoring the well-documented fact that Canadian nuclear workers are as healthy or healthier than the general population. When the real world conclusions of peer-reviewed studies contradict Lemstra’s dire findings, he simply forgets to mention them.
For example, a 2009 study on cardiovascular disease (CVD) and low dose radiation is cited by Lemstra, but he skips over the most important finding: “In the cohort, CVD mortality was significantly lower than in the general population of Canada.”
In another 2009 study that Lemstra fails to cite on the health outcomes of low dose radiation, the study notes “mortality from cancer and non-cancer causes was generally below expected as compared to the general Canadian population.”
In a recent public letter, Michael Binder, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) writes, “there is no evidence that Canadian nuclear workers have a higher risk of developing cancer than workers in other countries or the Canadian population in general.”
Finally, a comprehensive 2004 study by Columbia University that examined 53,000 U. S. nuclear workers over many years concludes “employees in the commercial nuclear industry are less likely than the general population to die from cancer or non-cancer diseases.”
These studies, based on real world data, directly contradict Lemstra’s hypothetical risk conclusions. In fact, nuclear energy is a very safe, reliable baseload energy source. It remains the only non-greenhousegas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels while satisfying Canada’s growing demand for energy.
Dr. Patrick Moore, Chairman and Chief Scientist,
Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. Vancouver, BC