21 Sep 2010

Study finds low thyroid cancer risks in France's Pacific nuclear weapons tests

11:21 am on 21 September 2010

A study says French Polynesian people exposed to fallout from France's atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific face an increased but low risk of developing thyroid cancer.

The finding has been published in Britain and follows work by Florent de Vathaire of the Institut Gustave Roussy in Paris.

The study found an increased risk of developing cancer but it says its conclusions are based on limited exposure data.

The researchers say information on exposure, which France has classified, would greatly improve the reliability of the risk estimation.

Other risk factors for thyroid cancer are a family history of this disease, obesity and, in women, a large number of pregnancies.

France carried out 41 atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia between 1966 and 1975 before conducting further blasts underground.