Letter: Causes of leukaemia

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The Independent Online
Sir: Contrary to Beatrix Campbell's statement about the Seascale leukaemia cases (13 October), there is a very plausible, though still technically 'unproven', alternative explanation for the Seascale leukaemia excesses.

Dr Leo Kinlen of the Cancer Research Campaign has gathered considerable evidence that the cause may be some infectious agent, carried to remote areas like West Cumbria by immune individuals from highly populated industrial areas. This, and the fact that the Gardner findings have not been replicated in large studies carried out in Scotland, Denmark, Canada, etc, makes radiation as a cause look extremely unlikely.

What children with leukaemia across the nation - the majority of them nowhere near nuclear establishments - need is a truce in the battle Ms Campbell identifies. Research must be carried out to find the true cause of the disease, not a perceived 'cause' useful to a particular campaign. Far too many children have already suffered because researchers have been forced to focus on one line of enquiry which now seems to be empty.

Yours sincerely,

MALCOLM C. GRIMSTON

Energy Issues Adviser

British Nuclear Industry Forum

London, SW1

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