Proximity to nuclear reactors not indicative of overall cancer rate

CDC evidence shows highest state cancer rate is in Kentucky- where there are no reactors

BY LAURA FINCH

There appears to be no correlation between the number of nuclear reactors in a state vs. the overall cancer rate, according to analysis of data from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Council (NRC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The ten highest cancer-rate states are 1-10. Within these are located a total of 21 reactors, but four of the top five states have none at all:

State Cancer Rate, 2006-10 Region
Kentucky 510.7 East South Central
Delaware 491.2 South Atlantic
Pennsylvania 489.1 Middle Atlantic
District of Columbia 486.8 South Atlantic
Maine 486.7 New England
New Hampshire 485.7 New England
Louisiana 485.3 West South Central
Connecticut 485 New England
New York 482.5 Middle Atlantic
Iowa 480 West North Central



Standing out from the rest is Kentucky, with a cancer rate of over 510.7 people per 100,000 (more than 1 in 200)- the highest in the country between 2006-10.

But although reactors snake across the landscape of its neighbors, none can be found in the Bluegrass State.

Cancers of the lung and bronchus, colon and rectum, and oral cavity and pharynx plague Kentuckians the most. The state ranks no. 1 in the country for rates of each of these, according to Dr. Mark Evers, who directs the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center.

A better indication of cancer, Dr. Evers points out, is whether or not a Kentuckian hails from the Appalachian area of the state. This region has some of the worst cancer and mortality rates in the country.

Together, the states in the East South Central region of the U.S. (Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi) saw an average cancer rate of 475 for the years analyzed, also well above the national average of 450 for the same time period. This region was second highest for average cancer rate, with the highest average rates found in the nearby Middle Atlantic region (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania).

These three states alone are home to a whopping 18 reactors.

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