grassrootspeace.org

November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.

THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

 

Study of baby teeth finds higher levels of strontium 90 near nuke plant

 

 By DIANE BRONCACCIO

 Recorder Staff www.recorder.com

 

 DEERFIELD - A pilot study analyzing the amount of strontium 90 in baby teeth shows that children living closer to the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant have much higher levels than children living farther away - a result showing that a larger study is warranted, according to several Franklin County residents, many of whom are opposed to nuclear power.

 

 At a news conference Tuesday at Frontier Regional School, Agnes Reynolds, a Hartford, Conn., nurse and research associate for the national Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), announced the average levels of strontium 90 found in the nine baby teeth collected from families living closest to the Vernon, Vt., reactor were 61 percent higher then the baby teeth of 17 other children living further from the Vernon plant.

 

 "This is a very limited, but extremely important study," said Dr. Ira Helfand, an emergency department physician at Cooley Dickinson Hospital and co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He said the study suggested more exposure to the contaminant, but that a larger study was needed, to make the outcome "statistically significant."

 

 A larger Tooth Fairy Project is already in the works, and will include Franklin County.

 

 "This is only a beginning," says Sally Shaw of Gill, an ecologist who is helping to organize the study. The group hopes to collect at least 100 baby teeth, along with data that includes the child's birth date and where the mother was living during the pregnancy. Shaw said baby teeth are being analyzed for the presence of strontium 90 because young children are most vulnerable to it, since it can be transmitted through breast milk and lodges in a child's growing bones.

 

 So far, she said, about two dozen baby teeth have been collected from Franklin County residents and another two dozen have been collected from Windham County, Vt., where the plant is based. Along with the campaign to collect baby teeth, organizers are looking for donations to help pay the $7,200 for laboratory work ($72 per tooth), and $7,000 for RPHP consultant time and other administrative costs. The organization also has more information about the project and information forms that must be filled out by parents who donate a baby tooth.

 

 Organizers hope to eventually release the data by showing levels of strontium 90 concentrations in teeth by zip codes.

 

 Also, the study hopes to collect baby teeth from children who have been diagnosed with cancer, to check for strontium 90.

 

 According to the Radiation and Public Health Project, scientists at Washington University in St. Louis collected 320,000 baby teeth between 1959 to 1970, and the studies that found higher levels of the contaminant occurred during the above-ground atomic bomb testing in Nevada. This was a factor that influenced the 1963 Partial Test Band Treaty. In 1998, RPHP began studying in-body radiation levels for people living near U.S. nuclear power plants. And, using the St. Louis study as a model, they have collected and tested more than 4,400 teeth, mostly near seven nuclear reactors.

 

 Reynolds said the organization has published at least four articles on its findings in medical journals. She said it is timely to do a study regarding those living near the Vernon plant, since it is seeking to expand plant capacity by 20 percent.

 

 Vernon Yankee spokesman Rob Williams said epidemiologists have generally not found the tooth fairy studies creditable "in terms of scientific methods and support for their conclusions."

 

 "These anti-nuclear groups have tried this kind of tactic at many nuclear plants around the country, and it's always been found to be lacking in credibility," he said.

 

 Sunny Miller, executive director of Traprock Peace Center, said several residents in many towns within Franklin and Hampshire counties have been visiting PTA meetings, libraries, grocery stores, dentist offices, churches and beaches explaining the project and asking for baby teeth and money.

 

 On Friday, a dozen or more teeth will be mailed to the RPHP office from Traprock. More information is available at: www.grassrootspeace.org

 

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at: dbronc@recorder.com or (413) 772-0261 Ext. 277.