An article published by the Michigan Messenger has found a significant increase in cancer rates near Monroe County’s Fermi nuclear plant.
According to the article, cancer rates have increased 31% in young people since 1996. This is three times the rate of the rest of the state and is higher than the national average. Children are more susceptible to the effects of radiation than adults.
The article used data from the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to find that:
“In the 1980s, the cancer rate for young people in Monroe County was below the state average. In the ’90s this rate grew, and in the first half of 2000 the cancer rate for this group in Monroe was greater than the state average. For the period 1999-2004, there is data to compare the Monroe under 25 cancer rate to both the Michigan and U.S statistics. The rate was 23.5 per 100,000 in Monroe County, 21.5 per 100,000 in Michigan and 19.5 per 100,000 nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”
While the article stops short of saying that the Fermi nuclear plant is causing the problem, several scientists and health experts cited in the article call for additional investigation into the cancer rates.
DTE Energy–who owns the Fermi plant–is hoping to build a new reactor at the site. Citizens are organizing to stop the new reactor and are citing the rise in cancer rates and the proximity to nearby schools as two of the many reasons to oppose the reactor’s construction.