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Dalgety Bay Cancers

Government scientific advisers have discovered a almost double the incidence of cancers among people living near Dalgety Bay in Fife, which is contaminated by radioactivity.Last month, the UK Government's Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued advice that public health risks from radiation at Dalgety Bay were low. But this has now been undermined by the report for the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare), which advises ministers in Westminster and Holyrood.

 An expert report for a Department of Health advisory committee on radiation has found a marked increase in liver and blood cancers close to the site of the contamination. The report pointed out that liver cancers were concentrated in communities near the polluted foreshore. This "reinforces the suspicion" they were linked to the discarded radium that has littered the area for decades, the report said.

Radioactive contamination was first discovered at Dalgety Bay, a popular sailing resort, in 1990. It is thought to come from radium used to illuminate the dials of aircraft disposed of in the area after the second world war. More than 2500 radioactive hotspots have been found on the foreshore in the past 22 years, more than 1000 since September 2011. They have ranged in size from tiny specks to lumps as big as half-bricks and include some of the most lethal found on public beaches. Parts of the foreshore have been closed for the past year and an official ban on harvesting shellfish has also been put in place.

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