Article Text

PDF

Leukaemia and Sellafield: is there a heritable link?
  1. E J Tawn
  1. Genetics Unit, Westlakes Research Institute, Geoffrey Schofield Laboratory, Cumbria, UK.

    Abstract

    The demonstration of a statistical association between paternal preconceptional irradiation and childhood leukaemia appeared to provide a satisfactory explanation for the excess of cases in the village of Seascale, close to the Sellafield nuclear installation, and became the basis of two legal claims for compensation. In the ensuing scientific debate the biological plausibility of a causal interpretation of this association focused on the heritability of leukaemia and a comparison of the genetic risks implied by this finding with current information on the induction of genetic damage by irradiation. After a wide ranging review of the mechanistic issues it is concluded that there is no genetic basis for a causal relationship and this, together with recent appraisals of epidemiological studies, suggests that the association between childhood leukaemia and paternal preconceptional irradiation exposure is most likely to be a chance finding.

    Statistics from Altmetric.com

    Request permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.