atomic veterans, atomic weapons testing, British nuclear test veterans association, chromosom aberrations, chromosomal translocations, chromosome translocations, congenital conditions, Cytogenetic analysis, genetic impacts, hereditary genetic impacts ionizing radiation, infertility, ionizing radiation, long term consequences nuclear energy, miscarriages, New Zealand, nuclear power, nuclear test veterans, nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons testing, operation grapple, Remembrance Day, veterans, Veterans Day
“Some human diseases caused by translocations are:
Cancer: Several forms of cancer are caused by acquired translocations (as opposed to those present from conception); this has been described mainly in leukemia (acute myelogenous leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia). Translocations have also been described in solid malignancies such as Ewing’s sarcoma.
Infertility: One of the would-be parents carries a balanced translocation, where the parent is asymptomatic but conceived fetuses are not viable.
Down syndrome is caused in a minority (5% or less) of cases by a Robertsonian translocation of the chromosome 21 long arm onto the long arm of chromosome 14.
Chromosomal translocations between the sex chromosomes can also result in a number of genetic conditions, such as XX male syndrome: caused by a translocation of the SRY gene from the Y to the X chromosome…”
“In 1938, Karl Sax, at the Harvard University Biological Laboratories, published a paper entitled “Chromosome Aberrations Induced by X-rays,” which demonstrated that radiation could induce major genetic changes by affecting chromosomal translocations. The paper is thought to mark the beginning of the field of radiation cytology, and led him to be called “the father of radiation cytology.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromosomal_translocation
Excerpts from “New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Study – a Cytogenetic Analysis” by RE Rowland et. al., (57 pp.)
p. iv “OVERVIEW
This report presents the findings of three assays performed to assess the genetic status of those New Zealand military personnel who participated in Operation Grapple in 1957-58. Two of the assays: the G2 assay and the micronucleus (MN) assay show no difference between the veterans and the matched controls, which suggests that DNA repair mechanisms in the veterans are not deficient.
The results reported here using the mFISH assay, however, show elevated translocation frequencies in peripheral blood lymphocytes of New Zealand nuclear test veterans 50 years after the Operation Grapple series of nuclear tests. The difference between the veterans and the matched controls with this particular assay is highly significant. The total translocation frequency is 3 times higher in the veterans than the controls who showed normal background frequencies for men of this age group. This result is indicative of the veterans having incurred long term genetic damage as a consequence of performing their duties relating to Operation Grapple.
A careful comparison of the veterans and the controls for possible confounding factors, together with a close analysis of the scientific literature in related studies, leads us to a probable defining cause for the chromosome anomalies observed. Ionizing radiation is known to be a potent inducer of chromosome translocations. We submit the view that the cause of the elevated translocation frequencies observed in the veterans is most likely attributable to radiation exposure“.
In 1957/58 the British Government conducted a series of nuclear tests at Christmas Island and Malden Island in the mid-Pacific Ocean. This series of detonations was given the codename “Operation Grapple”. These islands were previously part of the Line Islands group but are now part of the country known as Kiribati. Operation Grapple consisted of 9 nuclear detonations between May 1957 and September 1958. A series of 3 atomic (fission) detonations occurred over the ocean near Malden Island. A further 4 detonations of atomic (fission) devices occurred over the ocean at Christmas Island in addition to 2 smaller thermonuclear (fusion) devices over land.
The Grapple series involved several naval vessels from Britain and New Zealand. Two New Zealand frigates attended the series of detonations: the HMNZS Pukaki and the HMNZS Rotoiti. Over the course of these tests a total of 551 New Zealand naval personnel manned these ships. Their duties consisted of witnessing the detonation of the nuclear devices and collecting weather data.
During the Operation Grapple tests, the New Zealand vessels were stationed at various distances of between 20 and 150 nautical miles upwind from ground zero, the point on the ocean surface above which the devices were detonated (Crawford, 1989). The Pukaki was present in all of the 9 tests, while the Rotoiti was present only at the first 4 tests. Table 1 (page 2) shows the detonation and distance information for each of these ships.
The unavailability of data from film badges worn by the participants during these tests makes it difficult to establish with certainty whether or not these individuals received any radiation dosage, or if they did, to what degree. Nevertheless, since the tests, veterans have claimed, rightly or wrongly, that their quality of life has been affected as a direct result of their participation in Operation Grapple.”
“The veterans have also claimed that there is an increased prevalence of genetic disorders among them and their offspring. There have been reports of an increased frequency of multiple myelomas present in British veterans of such tests, based on the analysis of medical records for several thousand of the participants (Rabbitt Roff, 1999). Many veterans have had a history of afflictions such as cataracts (Phelps-Brown et al., 1997) and arthritis, or have died due to diseases that could be attributed to radiation exposure, such as gastrointestinal or respiratory disorders and some types of cancers (Rabbitt Roff, 1997).
Although several epidemiological studies have been conducted regarding the health of nuclear veterans from Britain, USA, Australia and New Zealand, all have yielded results that are inconclusive or non-significant (Pearce et al., 1990a,b; Rabbitt Roff, 1999; Dalager et al., 2000; Muirhead et al., 2003), as have studies involving the health of their offspring (Reeves et al., 1999; McLeod et al., 2001a,b).” (p.2)
“Different environmental agents can cause chromosomal breakages, but 29 translocations per 1000 cells as observed in the veterans, compared to 10 for the controls, is a particularly high score. The causative agent must be a powerful inducer of chromosome breaks. Very strict exclusion/inclusion criteria were applied in the selection process of both the veterans and the controls to exclude possible confounding factors. A detailed analysis of the scientific literature on related studies involving high chromosome translocation frequencies was also conducted.
We submit the view that the probable cause of the veterans’ elevated translocation frequencies is radiation exposure. This view is supported by the observation of a comparatively high dicentric chromosome score in the veterans, which is characteristic of radiation exposure.” (p. 44) (Emphasis our own.) Excerpted from “New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Study – a Cytogenetic Analysis“by R E (Al) Rowland1, John V Podd2, Mohammed Abdul Wahab1, Elizabeth M Nickless1 Claude Parmentier3, Radhia M’Kacher3 . Institute of Molecular BioSciences1, School of Psychology2,, Massey University Palmerston North New Zealand , UPRES EA 27-10 Institut Gustave-Roussy3, France,A report presented to the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, 2007 Read the entire study here: http://www.llrc.org/epidemiology/subtopic/nzvetsrept.pdf