Health of SK Uranium Workers

Another piece from ICUCEC, the folks who do the good work regarding uranium in this province.  Send emails to the Government of Saskatchewan, particularly to Premier Calvert and to Minister John Nilson.  If you live in SK, also send a copy to your MLA.

Resolution  No. 13

Title:  Radiation and the Health of Saskatchewan Uranium Workers   

From: Saskatchewan Division of Mission

Action:  Approved by the Saskatchewan Conference of the United Church, Preeceville, Sask. on  May 26, 2006.

Whereas, an epidemiological health study was done for 8,487 uranium miners and workers in the Beaverlodge area, involving 73 different mine sites from 1951 until 1982, which showed lung cancer at twice the normal average, and this Study has been under revision by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission since the year 2000; (1) and

Whereas, several epidemiological health studies were done on 21,346 miners of uranium at Elliott Lake and Bancroft from 1932 till 1967, with the conclusion that uranium miners were at 3 times the risk of  the average citizen for lung cancer, and that exposure to lower dose rates (of radiation) is more hazardous than exposure at higher does rates; (2) and

Whereas, an epidemiological  health study was carried out for 13,570 employees of the Atomic Energy Co. Ltd. (AECL) covering a period of 31 years, who had always been monitored for low-levels of radiation, yet 948 had died from cancer, some 9.8% of those employees.(3) and

Whereas, in 1997 a Saskatchewan Uranium Miners Cohort (SUMC) was set up to study the heath and mortality of recent mine and mill workers ( Cluff Lake, Rabbit Lake, McClean Lake, Key Lake, McArthur River, and Cigar Lake) which received high commendation from Dr. Donald Lee, chairperson of the Joint Federal-Provincial Panel on Uranium Mining who mentioned it 4 times in his report; (4) and

Whereas, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, in June 2005, cancelled the study on the basis of a Consultant’s Report which stated that there was little chance that the relatively low number of workers (12,000?) and low known exposures, could be used to generate “ a statistically accurate study.” ; (5) and

Whereas, the European Commission on Radiation Risk (ECRR) issued a Study, “The Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation at Low Doses and Low Dose rates for Radiation Protection Purposes,” published by Green Audit, 2003, which claims that the current models of the ICRP (International Commission on  Radiation Protection) are outmoded and defective, and which presents a new model for assessing radioactive risks; (6) and

Whereas, a recent finding of the BEIR VII Commission (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation), a sub-committee of the National Academy of Sciences, in   
June of 2005, stated that the scientific research base shows that there is no low threshold of radiation exposure which is safe; (7) and

Whereas, these recent findings represent a “sea change,” or a drastic shift in radiation science, they raise questions about present theory and practice of monitoring uranium workers with dosimeters, and that by keeping radiation doses low, that the workers will be relatively safe;

Therefore, be it resolved that  Saskatchewan Conference of the United Church of Canada request the Saskatchewan Government to use a portion of its uranium royalties to ascertain the health and welfare of current Saskatchewan Uranium miners through its own epidemiological study. 


(1)Beaverlodge Decommissioned Mine and Mill Site, Commission Member Document (DMC-04-H-23. Sept 16, 2004, pp.1, 3, 4. Also, Oral Supplementary,CMD-04-H-23-1A. pp. 2 & 5. Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Geoffrey R Howe and Ron H. Stager, “Risk of Lung Cancer Mortality Exposure to Radon Decay Products in Beaverlodge Cohort Based on Revised Exposure Estimates,” Radiation Research 146, 37-42 (1996), pp. 37, 41,

Howe, Nair, Newcombe, Miller, & Abbatt, “Lung Cancer Mortality (1950-80) in Relation to Radon Daughter Exposure in a Cohort of Workers at the Eldorado Beaverlodge Uranium Mine,” JNCI, Vol.77, No. 2, August, 1986, pp. 357, 360.

 (2)   Kusiak, Ritchie, Miller, & Springer, “Mortality  from lung cancer in Ontario                 
Uranium miners,” British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1993; 50: 920-928.

            Alan Chovil, B. Chir, “The Epidemiology of Primary Lung Cancer in    
            Uranium Miners in Ontario,” Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 23,
            No. 6, June 1981.                                                                                                                                  

Miller, Kusiak, & Ritchie, “Factors Modifying Lung Cancer Risk In Ontario Uranium Miners 1955-1981,” Ontario Ministry of Labour, Workers’ Compensation Board of Ontario, Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada, April  1989, pp. 10, 20.

(3)Howe, Chiarilli, & Lindsay, “Components and Modifiers of the Healthy       
           Worker Effect: Evidence from Three Occupational Cohorts and 
           Implications for Industrial Compensation, “ American Journal of
           Epidemiology, Vol.128. No. 6. copyright by the John Hopkins University
           School of Hygiene and Public Health, pp. 12366, 1367.                                                                                                                           .                                
      (4) Dr. Donald Lee, Joint Federal-Provincial Panel on Uranium Mining                                           
 Developments in Northern Saskatchewan, November, 1997, Executive Summary, p. 23; Midwest, p. 23; Cigar Lake, p. 95; Cumulative Observations, p. 16.

(5)Backgrounder: Health Studies for Saskatchewan Uranium Miners,” June
2005, Radiation Protection and Environmental Compliance  Division, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, pp. 1-6.

(6)“ The Health Effects of  Ionizing Radiation Exposure at Low Doses and
         Low Dose Rates for Radiation Protection Purposes: Regulators’ Edition”
         by the European Commission on Radiation Risk, edited by Chris Busby
         with Rosalie Bertell, Inge Schmitze-Feuerhake, Molly Scott Cato and
         Alexei Yablokov, published by Green Audit, 2003.

(7)BEIR VII Panel Report (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation), U. S. National Academy of Sciences, June 2005, Chairperson, Dr. Richard R.



3 thoughts on “Health of SK Uranium Workers

  1. Hi, Helping you test out your new word press.
    The Leave a comment link is very tiny just the >> seemed clickable to bring up the comment box.

    I read “SK Ukraninan Workers” when I first glanced at the title 🙂

  2. It’s taken a bit of getting used to the WordPress site. It’s a different functionality than Blogger. But you should be able to scroll to the bottom of the page to the comment form, at least that’s how I remember setting it up. Unless you’re reading the generic page, then you should be able to click on the word comments to get to it.

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