New doubt cast on leukaemia link: Cluster of cases near reprocessing plant remains 'an enigma'. Liz Hunt reports

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The Independent Online
ANY LINK between leukaemia in children and the exposure of parents to radiation that could cause genetic damage in eggs or sperm before conception is highly unlikely, according to two studies by British and Canadian researchers, writes Liz Hunt.

Their data adds to the growing body of evidence that casts doubt on a 1990 study carried out at Seascale, near the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in Cumbria, by Professor Martin Gardner. This linked leukaemia with exposure to ionising radiation at Sellafield.

The first study, reported in tomorrow's issue of the British Medical Journal, looked at all the children born in Cumbria between 1950 and 1989 to fathers employed at Sellafield.

In the second study, by scientists at Toronto University, it was found that children whose fathers worked in the nuclear industry in Ontario were no more likely to develop leukaemia than children whose fathers had not been exposed to ionising radiation.