24 Jan 2006

Further study planned in French Polynesia into thyroid cancer

4:33 pm on 24 January 2006

The French institute of health and medical research will conduct a further study in French Polynesia of the possible link between nuclear weapons testing and the incidence of thyroid cancer.

A French scientist, Florent de Vathaire, says the cancer rate in the Pacific territory is twice of that in mainland France, which he says is abnormally high.

Mr de Vathaire says this time he will conduct the study with a doctor from Belarus, Vladimir Drozdovitch, who is an expert on nuclear radiation.

He says they don't exclude that there may other links to the prevalence of thyroid cancer, such as genetic factors, obesity or excessive iodine in food.

While studies show that New Caledonia has higher thyroid cancer rates than French Polynesia, Dr Drozdovitch suspects that the atmospheric nuclear weapons tests were a key factor.