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Alan Mackay reports
"The study was in response to claims there was a link between the refinery and leukaemia"
 real 28k

Thursday, 16 March, 2000, 12:58 GMT
Refinery cancer link dismissed
Grangemouth refinery
Grangemouth: One of Scotland's biggest industrial sites
A study has ruled out a link between childhood deaths from leukaemia and the petro-chemical complex at Grangemouth.

The research, presented to Forth Valley Health Board, has found that incidence of leukaemia is in fact lower in the area than would normally be expected.

The report investigated a range of other cancers but found no increase.

This included multiple myeloma, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease. No increase in any age group was uncovered.

Reassurance 'welcomed'

The study was commissioned by public health director Dr Malcolm McWhirter, in response to claims by researchers at Birmingham University in 1997 that children born near oil refineries had an increased risk of leukaemia.

BP Amoco's Grangemouth operation, one of Scotland's biggest industrial complexes, brings together exploration, oil and chemicals on one site. It employs about 2,500 people.

About 1.8 million tonnes of petrochemicals and almost 10 million tonnes of crude oil are processed there annually.

Nursery kids
The study investigated childhood leukaemia
Health board chairman Euan Bell-Scott said: "On behalf of the board, I welcome the reassurances given by the study regarding childhood leukaemia.

"The positive news is that there is no increase recorded in the Grangemouth and Bo'ness area in any of the cancers studied with the exception of bladder cancer which has shown a slight increase."

The only cancer to show an increased level of incidence was bladder cancer amongst men over the age of 60.

'Close eye' on cancer

Mr Bell-Scott added: "We are concerned about this increase in bladder cancer and, by working nationally with the Scottish Cancer Intelligence Unit and locally with clinicians, we will keep a close eye on the situation for the foreseeable future."

Leeds University cancer expert Professor Ray Cartwright, who examined the study's findings, said: "The major non-occupational cause of bladder cancer is cigarette smoking, yet there is no excess of lung cancer in the area.

"The lack of lung cancer excess in the area is a further reassurance that industrial sources of carcinogens are not a feature of the area.

"In addition, the excess is in older and not younger people and again suggests that there are no high occupational exposures to particular workforces."

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See also:

14 Mar 00 | Business
BP buys Burmah Castrol
22 Jul 98 | Health
Radiation cancer link
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