2009 Information Updates
Health studies done in Port Hope: The Facts
April 15, 2009
- The health of Port Hope residents and local environment has been studied extensively through many scientific studies over several decades.
- CNSC concludes that the health of Port Hope residents is not at risk and is consistent with the health of the general population of Ontario and Canada
- CNSC’s conclusions are based on a number of environmental and epidemiological studies on Port Hope and the findings are consistent with studies examining similar populations in other countries.
- The findings are consistent with the international scientific understanding of the effects of radiation and uranium on human health.
- The radiation levels in the air, soil, water and vegetation in Port Hope are very low and are situated at or below the public dose limit.
- CNSC continues to monitor the nuclear industry in Port Hope and integrates best international practices to protect the health, safety and security of local residents and the environment.
- Image: Port Hope Town Hall
“CNSC concludes that no health effects have been identified in Port Hope as a result of the operations of the nuclear industry in the community.”
Michael Binder, CNSC President and CEO
“By examining cancer rates and the causes of mortality in Port Hope’s nuclear industry workers, the CNSC came to the conclusion that these individuals’ health was no different to that of the general Canadian population. “
Patsy Thompson, Director General, Environmental and Radiation Protection and Assessment, CNSC
Port Hope is home to a nuclear substance processing facility and to a fuel fabrication facility, both operated by Cameco Corporation and licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).
Historic waste as a consequence of past practices involving radium and uranium refining by Eldorado Nuclear Limited can be found in various locations in Port Hope.
What studies have been done to assess the health of Port Hope citizens and nuclear workers?
Many studies have been conducted in Port Hope from the 1930s to the present day to assess the health of the residents of the town. CNSC staff has reviewed the findings from over thirty environmental and thirteen epidemiological studies. The studies range from rates of cancer incidence to causes of death in the community. As well, the health of past and present workers in the radium, used before 1942, and uranium facilities in Port Hope have been studied extensively.
A study tracked and continues to track a group of approximately 3,000 current and former workers of Port Hope radium and uranium processing facilities. This study found no relationship between Port Hope nuclear workers’ radiation exposures and any cause of death, or incidence of cancer. This is one of the most convincing pieces of evidence that the health risks linked to nuclear industry in Port Hope are not significant.
The study used detailed information on the workers’ radiation exposure collected since 1932 until today. The study is conclusive that the Port Hope workers were and are as healthy as the rest of the Ontario and Canadian populations.
What do we know about the health of Port Hope citizens?
The health studies conducted in Port Hope provide a comprehensive and extensive understanding of the health of the people of Port Hope for over half a century.
These studies do not show any unusual patterns of cancer or other diseases, either in nuclear energy workers or in members of the community as a result of the operations of the nuclear industry.
The findings of the studies conducted on Port Hope residents are consistent and confirm the results of similar studies conducted in other communities with nuclear operations, and studies of other uranium workers in other countries.
What do we know about the environment?
Many studies have been conducted over the years by Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, the CNSC, the Low Level Radioactive Waste Management Office, Cameco and Zircatec.
These studies do not indicate any significant effects on humans or other organisms associated with radioactive or non-radioactive environmental contamination in Port Hope.
The uranium concentration in air in Port Hope is about 100 times lower than the Ontario guideline developed to protect human health.
The uranium concentration in drinking water in Port Hope is about 1000 times lower than the Ontario drinking water standard, and about 10 times lower than the Ontario provincial water quality objective.
- CNSC’s Summary Report on Port Hope Health Studies
- CNSC’s Port Hope community section
- Summary of Port Hope Health Studies (source: Health Canada’s Web site)
- Port Hope Area Initiative (source: LLRWMO Web site)
- Cameco’s Vision 2010 (source: Cameco’s Web site)
- Eldorado Studies
- Vision 2010 Project
- Port Hope Area Initiative
- Ontario drinking water standard (source: Government of Ontario’s Web site)
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