§ Gregory Barker
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what representations his Department has received concerning alleged correlation between instances of leukaemia clusters and nuclear power stations in the UK.
§ Ms Blears
The Black advisory group was commissioned in 1983, by the then Minister of Health, to investigate reports of a high incidence of leukaemia occurring in young people living in the vicinity of the Sellafield nuclear site. In their report, Black 1984, the advisory group confirmed that there was a higher incidence of leukaemia in young people resident in the area. They also concluded that the estimated radiation dose from the Sellafield discharges and other sources, received by the local population, could not account for the observed leukaemia incidence on the basis of knowledge available at that time. The uncertainties in the available data led the advisory group to make recommendations for further research and investigation.
The committee on medical aspects of radiation in the environment (COMARE) was established in November 1985 in response to the final recommendation of the report of the independent advisory group chaired by Sir Douglas Black. Its terms of reference are toassess and advise Government and the Devolved Administrations on the health effects of natural and man-made radiation in the environment and to assess the adequacy of the available data and the need for further research".
COMARE has now published seven reports and has also published several statements into allegations of cancer clusters around nuclear installations. Details can be found on the committee's web site at www.open.gov.uk/doh/comare.htm