CAMECO - Stop Promoting Radiation Junk Science

 MARCH 12 2014 : Canadian-based Cameco Corporation is the world’s second largest uranium mining company, with 27 uranium exploration programs in Australia. It has one active proposal to mine uranium − at Kintyre, an area excised from the Karlamilyi National Park in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

 Cameco has consistently promoted the fringe scientific view that exposure to low-level radiation is harmless.

 Cameco has sponsored speaking events by Canadian scientist Dr Doug Boreham, who argues that low-level radiation is actually beneficial to human health. (Dr Boreham has also travelled to Australia to promote these views in 2007 and 2010.)

 Those views are at odds with mainstream scientific evidence and expert assessment. For example:

·         A 2010 report by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation states that "the current balance of available evidence tends to favour a non-threshold response for the mutational component of radiation-associated cancer induction at low doses and low dose rates." (www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2010/UNSCEAR_2010_Report_M.pdf)

·         The 2006 report of the Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation (BEIR) of the US National Academy of Sciences states that "the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and ... the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans." The report also concludes that claims that low-level radiation exposure may be beneficial to human health are "unwarrranted". (www.nap.edu/books/030909156X/html)

·         An expert review published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (US) in 2003 concluded that: "Given that it is supported by experimentally grounded, quantifiable, biophysical arguments, a linear extrapolation of cancer risks from intermediate to very low doses currently appears to be the most appropriate methodology." (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14610281)

 It is irresponsible for Cameco to consistently promote fringe scientific views regarding the health effects of ionising radiation. Even more alarming is that Cameco has actively promoted this view through its newsletters to Aboriginal communities about the Kintyre project.)

Recent scientific research has heightened concern about exposure to radon, the main source of radiation doses to uranium industry workers. In 2009, the International Commission on Radiological Protection concluded that radon gas delivers almost twice the radiation dose to humans as originally thought and the Commission is in the process of reassessing permissible levels. Previous dose estimates to miners need to be approximately doubled to accurately reflect the lung cancer hazard.

 We call on Cameco to stop promoting fringe scientific views to uranium industry workers and to the public at large.

Signatories (all medical doctors working in Australia):

1.      Jason Garrood MBBS, FACRRM

2.      Bill Williams MBBS

3.      Margaret Beavis MBBS FRACGP

4.      Peter Karamoskos MBBS, FRANZCR

5.      Hilary Tyler MBChB, FACEM

6.      Jenny Grounds MBBS, DRANZCOG, Grad Dip Med Acup.

7.      Jane Ralls MBBS MRCGP (UK)

8.      Catherine Silsbury MBBS, MHSc, FAChAM

9.      Simon Leslie MBBS

10.  Peter Shannon, MBBS, DPM, FRANZCP

11.  George Crisp MBBS, MRCGP

12.  Brendan Leslie BSc(Chem)Adv(Dist) MBBS EM Cert. (ACEM)

13.  Marion Carey MBBS (Hons.), MPH, FAFPHM, FRSPH

14.  Tom Keaney MBBS

15.  Ben Bartlett MBBS, MPH, FAFOEM, FAFPHM, MRACGP

16.  Sue Wareham OAM, MBBS

17.  Ken Harvey MBBS, FRCPA

18.  Michael Fonda MBBS, B.Med.Sci, FRACGP

19.  James Rossiter AM, DU Deakin Honoris Causa, FRACP, FRCP Ed, MRCS, LRCP, MMSA, DCH, DObstRCOG

20.  Linda Selvey MBBS(Hon), PhD

21.  Peter Tait MBBS, DipRACOG, FRACGP, MClimChng, MPHAA

22.  Vicky Tee MBBS, DRANZCOG, FRACGP

23.  Kingsley Faulkner MBBS, FRACS, AM

24.  Kristen Pearson MBBS, FRACP

25.  David King MBBS, MPH, FRACGP

26.  Dimity Williams MBBS (Hons) FRACGP

27.  Emeritus Prof.  David Shearman, MB Ch.B Ph.D FRACP FRCPE

28.  Sallie Forrest MBBS (Hons.) MScPH(LSHTM)(Dist.)

29.  Richard Yin MBBS

30.  Louise E. Sparrow MB.BS PhD FRACGP

31.  Sally Attrill MBBS FRACGP

32.  Mary Belfrage MBBS DRANZCOG MRACGP

33.  Niall Quiery MBBS DRCOG MRACGP DTM

34.  Tilman A Ruff MB,BS (Hons), FRACP, AM

35.   Alf Liebhold MBBS DCH FRACGP

36.   David Legge MD FRACP

37.  Janet Bodycomb BSc, MBBS, FRACGP

38.  Kate Jackson MBBS, DTM+H, FRCA, FAChPM (RACP), FFPMANZCA

39.  Harry Cohen AM, MBBS, FRACOG

 ENDS