Report links cancer cases near nuclear power plant

November 16, 2009 3:05:12 PM PST
Concern over cases of thyroid cancer near the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant was raised on Monday. The study was published in the International Journal of Health Services.

The reaction among anti-nuclear activists -- Indian Point is an ongoing threat to public health.

The article alleges a link between the nuclear plant's release of radioactive iodine and thyroid cancer in surrounding counties.

"Public officials need to take the results seriously," Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health Project said.

The study's author says an analysis of Centers for Disease Control data shows the rate of thyroid cancer in Rockland County is 106 percent above the national average; 102 percent above in Putnam; 87 percent higher in Orange and 42 percent higher than average in Westchester.

"Mr. Mangano, unfortunately, is preying upon people's worst fears using junk science," spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

The company that operates Indian Point vigorously refutes the claims, accusing Mangano of anti-nuclear bias.

"Indian Point and all nuclear power plants for that matter release iodine at such a level that it has no impact," Nappi said.

For Diane Santaiti, who grew up on Rockland County, the debate is not just academic.

"I just remember saying, 'Oh my God am I gonna die,'" she said.

The wife and mother of two was diagnosed with thyroid cancer five years ago, though there's no family history of the disease.

She now believes Indian Point may have been a factor.

"I would like to see the plant shut down," Santaiti said.