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Miscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme

Christopher Busby1* and Mireille Escande de Messieres2
1Environmental Research SIA, Latvian Academy of Sciences, Latvia
2Green Audit, SY231 1DZ , University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Wales
Corresponding Author : Christopher Busby
1117 Latvian Academy of Sciences
Academy Square, LV-1050 Riga, Latvia
Tel: +44 7989 428833
E-mail: mailto:christo@greenaudit.org
Received April 18, 2014; Accepted September 22, 2014; Published September 22, 2014
Citation: Busby C, de Messieres ME (2014) Miscarriages and Congenital Conditions in Offspring of Veterans of the British Nuclear Atmospheric Test Programme. Epidemiology (Sunnyvale) 4:172. doi:10.4172/2161-1165.1000172
Copyright: © 2014 Busby C, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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A postal questionnaire case-control study examined miscarriage in wives and congenital conditions in offspring of the 2007 membership of the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association, a group of ex-servicemen who were stationed at atmospheric nuclear weapon test sites between 1952-67. Results were compared with a veteran-selected control group and also with national data. Based on 605 veteran children and 749 grandchildren compared with 311 control children and 408 control grandchildren there were significant excess levels of miscarriages, stillbirths, infant mortality and congenital illnesses in the veterans? children relative both to control children and expected numbers. 105 miscarriages in veteran?s wives compared with 18 in controls OR=2.75 (1.56, 4.91; p=.00016). There were 16 stillbirths; 3 in controls (OR=2.70 (0.73, 11.72; p=0.13). Perinatal mortality OR was 4.3 (1.22, 17.9; p=.01) on 25 deaths in veteran children. 57 veteran children had congenital conditions vs. 3 control children (OR=9.77 (2.92, 39.3); p=0.000003) these rates being also about 8 times those expected on the basis of UK EUROCAT data for 1980?-2000. For grandchildren, similar levels of congenital illness were reported with 46 veteran grandchildren compared with 3 controls OR=8.35 (2.48, 33.8) p=0.000025. There was significantly more cancer in the veteran grandchildren than controls.

Whilst caution must be exercised due to structural problems inherent in this study we conclude that the veterans? offspring qualitatively exhibit a prevalence of congenital conditions significantly greater than that of controls and also that of the general population in England. The effect remains highly statistically significant even assuming a high selection bias in the responses and credibility is strengthened by the high rates of miscarriage reported by the veterans compared with controls, a result which could hardly have been due selection effects.

 
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