Nuclear fallout and lung cancer


"On the basis of data available from two representative samples of lung cancer deaths in the United States as well as national mortality statistics and other epidemiologic studies, the lung cancer mortality rate has risen substantially between 1914 and 1968 among persons who never smoked cigarettes. For white males the relative increase for ages 35--84 years has been about 15-fold; the relative increase for ages 65--84 years has been about 30-fold. For white females the relative increase for ages 35--84 years has been about seven fold. Most of the relative increase occurred before 1935 and was probably due to changes in diagnostic criteria. However, increases have continued up to the present for male nonsmokers, who now apparently have an annual age-adjusted lung cancer death rate of about 25 per 100,000 persons between the ages 35--84 years. The rising lung cancer rate among nonsmokers indicates that factors in addition to personal cigarette smoking have had a significant effect on the mortality rate from this disease. In spite of the limited quality of these data, they suggest that a more complete understanding of lung cancer etiology is needed."    Rising lung cancer mortality among nonsmokers. Enstrom JE.
The theory that the post world war rise in lung cancer was caused by rising cigarette consumption can not possibly explain the rise of lung cancer deaths in persons who have never smoked. However the period of nuclear fallout that occurred between 1945 and 1985 (UNSCEAR ANNEX C) can explain this as people would be exposed to inhaled radionuclides produced in atomic weapons testing regardless of their smoking status.

To test whether there is any correlation between the period of nuclear fallout and lung cancer rates , I have taken cancer data made available by the IARC and created charts to show the deaths that occurred during the period in question. Deaths that occurred during the nuclear fallout period are in red and deaths that occurred outside of this period are in black. If the global lung cancer epidemic was caused by nuclear weapons testing then we would expect to see a rise in lung cancers between 1945 and 1985 followed by a fall after 1985.
                                                         

                                                                 The world age standardised rate (W)







Male and female the world age standardised rate (W)


Male and female the world crude rate



United States of America. Population 324,118,787


Brazil. Population 209,567,920


Russian Federation. Population 143,439,832

It is worth noting that in the USSR/Former Soviet Union smoking rates remained stable over the decades in question and yet the lung cancer signatures show a fall after atomic weapons testing fallout ends. If it were true that these epidemics were caused by smoking then this would be impossible.






Mexico. Population 128,632,004

Japan. Population 126,323,715


Philippines. Population 102,250,133


Egypt. Population 93,383,574

Germany. Population 80,682,351


Thailand. Population 68,146,609


United Kingdom. Population 65,111,143

France. Population 64,668,129

Italy. Population 59,801,004


England and Wales. Population 56,640,000


South Africa. Population 54,978,907


Republic of Korea. Population 50,503,933


Colombia. Population 48,654,392


Spain. Population 46,064,604


Ukraine. Population 44,624,373

Argentina. Population 43,847,277


Poland. Population 38,593,161


Canada. Population 36,286,378


Peru. Population 31,774,225


Venezuela. Population 31,518,855

Uzbekistan. Population 30,751,602


Australia. Population 24,309,330


Romania. Population 19,372,734



Chile. Population 18,131,850



Kazakhstan. Population 17,855,384


The Netherlands. Population 16,979,729


Guatemala. Population 16,672,956


Ecuador. Population 16,385,450

Czechoslovakia. Population 15.6 million (1993)



Cuba. Population 11,392,889


Belgium. Population 11,371,928


Greece. Population 10,919,459



Dominican Republic. Population 10,648,613




Czech Republic. Population 10,548,058


Portugal. Population 10,304,434



Azerbaijan. 9,868,447


Sweden. Population 9,851,852

It is worth noting that in Sweden smoking became popular decades after the USA and yet both lung cancer epidemics start when atomic testing starts and not after any theoretical time lag associated with the rise of cigarette use.




Hungary. Population 9,821,318


Belarus. Population 9,481,521


Serbia. Population 8,812,705


Tajikistan. Population


Austria. Population 8,569,633


Switzerland. Population 8,379,477

Israel. Population 8,192,463


China, Hong Kong. Population 7,346,248


Bulgaria. Population 7,097,796

Paraguay. Population 6,725,430


Nicaragua. Population 6,150,035


El Salvador. Population 6,146,419


Kyrgystan. Population 6,033,769


Singapore. Population 5,696,506

Denmark. Population 5,690,750


Finland. Population 5,523,904



Turkmenistan. Population 5,438,670

Slovakia. Population 5,429,418


Scotland. Population 5,295,000



Norway. Population 5,271,958


Costa Rica. Population 4,857,218

Ireland. Population 4,713,993


New Zealand. Population 4,565,185



Croatia. Population 4,225,001


Republic of Moldova. Population 4,166,463


Kuwait. Population 4,007,146

Panama. Population 3,990,406

Georgia. Population 3,979,781



Uruguay. Population 3,444,071


Armenia. Population 3,026,048



Albainia. Population 2,903,700

Lithuania. Population 2,850,030


Macedonia. Population 2,107,000



Slovenia. Population 2,069,362


Latvia. Population 1,955,742

Northan Ireland. Population 1,811,000


Estonia. Population 1,309,104

Mauritius. Population 1,277,459



Cyprus. Population 1,176,598



Tinidad and Tobago. Population 1,364,973



Luxembourg. Population 576,243


Suriname. Population 547,610



Malta. Population 419,615

Belize. Population 366,942



Iceland. Population 331,778


Barbados. Population 285,006



China: selected rural areas. Population no data


China: urban areas. Population no data


China: selected areas. Population no data



7 comments:

  1. Some French bloke26 December 2015 at 17:41

    A few remarks on the use of ASRs (Age-standardised rates):
    Japan is a highly developed country, with presently the highest life spans on record, and the use of ASR (W) pits it against the world population, including many countries with far lower life expectancies such as India and dozens of sub-saharan African countries, which are generally not included in the IARC database, and where most of the increase in world population occurred during the time-scales represented in the graphs. Consequently, the ASR graphs for developed countries like Japan, and the general ASR graph for 89 countries, are bound to reflect the effect of this adjustment more than any other factor.
    From the IARC database, here are the trends in lung cancer mortality in Japan from 1975 - a time when crude and standardised rates were similar - to 2013:

    1975
    Men: 19.66 (crude), 19.78 (ASR)
    Women: 7.19 (crude), 5.96 (ASR)
    Both sexes: 13.43 (crude), 12.87 (ASR)

    2013
    Men: 84.23 (crude), 27.19 (ASR)
    Women: 31.72 (crude), 7.80 (ASR)
    Both sexes: 57.98 (crude); 17.5 (ASR)

    China may be included, but if you check the relevant population pyramids, those 'selected areas' only total about 118 million people, less than 8.5% of the Chinese population, so the IARC figures for such a huge country are not very helpful. Moreover the criteria used to define 'rural' as opposed to 'urban' areas are not specified, and we can only speculate on how living conditions in rural China have changed over the last four decades.

    A final note on the averaging of the figures for both sexes: in addition to striking differences between national LC rates (evened out by the application of ASRs), and synchronical differences in male vs female rates, lung is the ONLY cancer site which shows not only divergent but sometimes *opposing* secular trends in female vs male rates, especially since the 1980s and the general decline in smoking prevalence, and I find that aspect of the problem mighty hard to reconcile with either the cigarette hypothesis or the fallout theory.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I echo the reservations of Some French Bloke about sex averaging. It is one of my pet hates. Whilst I agree with him that the divergent and opposing trends in female vs male rates of lung cancer makes a nonsense of the cigarette hypothesis, I am less inclined to dismiss fallout just yet.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The point about both sexes is well taken. I shall publish a chart showing male and female trends for the world when I get a chance.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have added a chart showing male and female rates for the world. It is the second chart down from the top.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Some French bloke30 December 2015 at 17:08

    Seems that the new chart illustrates the point in the last paragraph of my above comment rather well...
    Some additional observations on the power of age-standardised rates (ASRs) for propaganda purposes:
    The overall cancer death rate in Japan 2013 was 351.1/100,000, whittled down to a third (117.6/100,000) if ASR is applied. It even cuts their prostate cancer death rate for that year by over 74%: from 18.7/100,000 to 4.8/100,000! Quite handy if one is in the business of "proving" that the use of the prostate specific antigen test from the 1980s onwards has had a positive impact on mortality, even though the prostate cancer death rate for Japan in 1984 was at 3.95/100,000 (3.15 ASR). If the crude figures are too embarrassing to mention, just posit that the moderate increase would have been far greater "due to an ageing population"! The Mainstream Media routinely use those adjusted figures (sometimes not even specified in the small print) to make their point, in the assurance that only a minute fraction of the general public will bother to check and reevaluate the various 'findings' and advice presented in the article.
    These two graphs show how ASRs can serve not only to artificially lower mortality levels, but also to reverse a trend:
    http://www-dep.iarc.fr/data/WHO_T4_94234757a.png
    http://www-dep.iarc.fr/data/WHO_T4_72346860a.png

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rather annoyingly blogspot won't embed images in posts which would show the difference between crude and ASR rates for Japan (which is very striking).

    I have added the crude rates for male and females for the world (third chart down) which also illustrates the point by comparing it with the ASR chart above it. It is worth noting that not all the data for all countries will be up to date so the trends for the last five years are so will probably not look like that in a few years time.

    ReplyDelete