Albion Monitor /Commentary


All correspondence should be sent to We reserve the right to edit letters as needed.

"Bear" Lincoln case

Seems that 'law men' killing Native people in the states is just as bad as Canada. We'll keep our members up-to-date on the case. Don't know if you've run a story on the cop in Ontario who was just convicted of killing Native Warrior, Dudley George, but I'm sure you readers would find it interesting. They (the police) killed a Native leader, J.J. Harper, a few years back on the streets of Winnipeg, Manitoba. They excused themselves from guilt in one day, which lead to a government inquiry (no action was taken -- it was shelved). The Bear Lincoln case reminds me of this. Our thoughts and prayers are with our brother. Keep up the info on your site, it's a good read.

All our relations,
D. Donovan
On behalf of the Manitoba Warrior Society

Our first report on the Dudley George case appeared in October, 1995. An update appears in our next issue.

-- Editor

Darker Alliances

Thanks for an excellent editorial on the San Jose Mercury News' "Dark Alliance" series and the "smother" efforts which have been lead by the NY Times and Washington Post. And thanks for a fantastic online news service -- my favorite by far. The price is wonderful also -- I'd gladly pay more.

Cordially, Todd Prouty (New York)

Canada's Growth Industry: Sweatshops

The listing of Canada, as a "sweatshop" haven due to reasons outlined leaves information to be mislabeled. Your article states that Canada as a country has a lax enforcement of labour laws. May I point out that Canada has stringent labour codes. We also have as an Ambassador leading profiles to the U.N., a young teenager who spent a whole year, travelling the globe, to inform other kids of conditions not agreed by Canadian standards. That same teenager met with your House of Representatives, and Senate to inform your own government of the situation, as the U.S. is a much larger importer of goods than the country of Canada.

Your second point picks up a point of high unemployment, yes, our Canadian rate of unemployment is approximately 9.8 percent, and yours being in the neighbourhood of 5 percent. Yes we do pay higher taxes, but we receive much more for them, i.e. free medical care. Our rate of unemployment has traditionally been slightly higher than that of the U.S.

The third reference was the exploitation of women and immigrants, our (Canadian) Charter of Rights and Freedoms would enable the exploited woman or immigrant to file before both the Labour Board and the Human Rights Commission of Canada. Exploitation is not an easy thing to do within Canada.

Thank you, G. Trudell (Ontario)

Call for Nike Boycott

I have been looking at all the information regarding Nike and have not seen how many good paying jobs in factories in the United States were shut down and moved overseas for slave labor. I think it is unconscionable what the corporate world is doing to America, but profit has no conscience.

Sincerely yours, "Tom"

Three Mile Island Cancer "Extremely High"

Nearly 18 years after the accident at the Three Mile Island [TMI] nuclear power plant, allegations of elevated cancer rates have sparked news stories about one researcher's claims of undetected effects from the event. If recent history is a guide, these new Three Mile Island charges will likely follow the same pattern as the controversy over the pesticide ALAR. In both cases, a lack of critical analysis contributed to news headlines that were quickly forgotten before scientists could properly evaluate the initial claims. Stories about new scientific "findings" that are later debunked as poor science should prompt us all to ask: What is the real harm caused by sensational claims that go against the many reputable, mainstream scientific studies on subjects such as chemicals and radiation?

The scientific evidence on Three Mile Island's impact on cancer rates is clear and solid-there was none. More than a dozen studies by reputable organizations, including Columbia University and the National Cancer Institute, have concluded that no measurable cancer increases have occurred related to the accident. Yet North Carolina researcher Steven Wing miraculously postulates an eight-fold increase in leukemia in the nearby population. In the face of this overwhelmingly contrary evidence, it is almost impossible to understand how Wing claims that the accident released more radiation (and caused more cancer) than has been reported. Wing's work is so far out of the scientific mainstream that his claims clearly have no basis in sound science, particularly radiation epidemiology.

Wing's allegations of increased cancer rates are not based on original research, but largely on his own reanalysis of an independent study by Columbia University researchers. The Columbia team found a higher rate of lung cancer near the plant, but linked the increase to lifestyle habits such as smoking. The researchers reported their conclusion on the effects of Three Mile Island in the American Journal of Public Health: "The prior expectation that no excess cancer would be found was confirmed in most if not all aspects."

Despite the clear linkage between smoking and lung cancer and the conclusion that Three Mile Island did not lead to more cancer, Wing nonetheless claims he has found higher lung cancer rates around the plant, without including or correcting for smoking data as a factor in his study. His study specifically covers cancer incidence only through 1985 - a major scientific flaw, because there is a minimum interval between radiation exposure and lung cancer appearance (latency) of at least nine or more years. Lung cancers simply cannot be seen in Wing's six year follow-up.

Wing's claim that radiation from the accident was much higher than previously thought contradicts careful evaluations reported years ago by reputable scientists. Basing this high dose possibility on anecdotal claims of post accident acute radiation sickness and other symptoms is simply not correct, nor is Wing's unvalidated assessments of possible radiation induced chromosome damage. To secretly slip such massive doses into the population undetected, all the laws of physics, biology and environmental science would have to be violated. In contrast, the Columbia researchers found that "in every instance, the level of exposure was deemed to be very low," averaging about the equivalent of a single chest x-ray, up to a maximum of about 10 x-rays. Furthermore, by studying rolls of unexposed photographic film from homes near Three Mile Island, an expert at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded in 1980 that exposures above the naturally occurring background radiation in air, water and soil "can be ruled out."

My 46 years of experience in radiation and bioenvironmental research tell me that if radiation from Three Mile Island had been as high as Wing claims (i.e., high enough to cause radiation sickness), most of the alarms and every radiation instrument in the Northeast would have sounded. Under Wing's scenario, the situation would have been similar to the Chernobyl accident, where radiation alarms were sounding in nuclear plants hundreds of miles away in Finland, Sweden and Germany. There is simply no environmental transport mechanism that can distribute and deposit the kind of radiation dose Wing is talking about without detection.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has stated that Wing's claims are "not a valid epidemiological study design for determining actual risk for an exposed group." The Department also said that Wing engaged in "selectively narrowing" the populations he studied "until significant findings were observed."

It is important to always remember that simple correlation does not equate to causality. It can be a factor in launching an epidemiology study, but it is a disservice to the public to publish such claims in a vacuum without questioning whether the level of uncertainty has been examined.

Will the strong criticism of these unfounded claims put an end to such poor science? The effects of Wing's sensational claims go far beyond exploiting the people around Three Mile Island and obscuring what genuine science tells us about the absence of effects from the accident. Reports such as Wing's are examples of poor science, and this is a serious problem when it has the potential to cheapen the credibility of reputable research. When taken at face value and out of context, it has the potential to hamper our ability to make intelligent energy and environmental decisions which are based on all the facts.

Dr. Marvin Goldman
Professor of Radiobiology
UC / Davis


Thanks for putting something cool on the net.

Your new subscriber,
Shaun P. Hayes (Massachusetts)

Albion Monitor Issue 31 (

All Rights Reserved.

Contact for permission to reproduce.

Front Page