• Germany edition
 
Fewer girls born near German nuke waste site
Photo: DPA

Fewer girls born near German nuke waste site

Published: 28 Apr 2012 10:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Apr 2012 10:12 GMT+02:00

Data shows that since 1995, when the first barrels of nuclear waste started arriving at Gorleben, nearly 1,000 fewer girls have been born, compared to the previous decade, according to Hagen Scherb, a mathematician at the Helmholtz Centre in Munich.

The “Lost Girls” phenomenon, described in an article published in Die Welt Friday, was also documented after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 1986, according to the environmental group "Deutsche Umwelthilfe". But the figures weren’t so dramatic. The group did not release the girl-to-boy birth rates following that disaster.

Before the barrels of radioactive waste started rolling into Gorleben – despite repeated protest from environmental and citizens’ rights groups – there were 100 girls born for every 101 boys, the paper noted.

Following the transports that changed to 100 girls to every 109 boys. The statistical average across Germany is 100 girls for every 105 boys.

Karl Sperling, a genetics expert with Berlin’s Charité hospital has speculated that radioactive waves – even those well below acceptable limits - can damage the X chromosomes needed to produce female embryos.

But while the data clearly shows fewer girls being born, experts do not agree on the cause, the paper wrote.

The German environmental group, in a statement, demanded that the government provide a full scientific explanation of the data. The Lower Saxony health office noted last year that there were fewer girls being born in the state.

The data showed there was no evidence that a low-dose radiation exposure was produced by the Gorleben storage facility, the paper wrote.

However Berlin epidemiologist Christoph Zink criticized this, saying that the models used to determine the radiation dosing were outdated because the latest techniques and experience developed since Chernobyl were not being used.

Scientists agreed there is still a lot to be learned about radioactive biology, but current knowledge is good enough to reject some claims as false, they said.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

12:54 April 28, 2012 by IsGood
The selection of the Gorleben site may have been expediant political and bad science, but that appears to be true of this article, too. In Gorleben today, you report there are 100 girls for every 209 children born; nationally Germany has 100 girls for every 205 births. 100/209 versus 100/205, or 47.8% versus 48.8%. There will be variation from town to town and year to year, and these numbers are easily accounted for by that variation. By chance, some towns will even exhibit longer-term variation above or below the national average.

I think it's insane to pursue nuclear fission power when we have no way to safely store the waste product, which makes this superficial article such a disappointment. A better analysis would look at the variation over time and whether or not the year-to-year variation in Gorleben is significantly (not just seemingly) different than other, similar towns in Germany. Was this done?
13:55 April 28, 2012 by DOZ
Commonly known as the cure.
17:32 April 28, 2012 by wxman
A statistical analysis might discover this is a common case of correlation without causation.
05:20 April 29, 2012 by anaverageguy
The expert "speculated"? Oh yes. VERY scientific.
23:41 April 30, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
Before jumping to conclusions I'd first want to check if selective abortion is going on in the region....it seems to be endemic, sigh......
Today's headlines
Heart centre accused of fiddling transplant list
A donor heart gets delivered to the DHZB. Photo: DPA

Heart centre accused of fiddling transplant list

The German Heart Institute of Berlin (DHZB) is under investigation after evidence showed a doctor manipulated patient data to get them a new heart faster. READ  

Germany sues Swiss bank over missing marks
Julius Bär bank. Photo:DPA

Germany sues Swiss bank over missing marks

Berlin is suing one of Switzerland's largest banks in its bid to recuperate hundreds of million euros that went missing during the reunification of East and West Germany, the bank said Thursday. READ  

Trial of cannibalism fetish cop to begin
The scene of the crime. Photo: DPA

Trial of cannibalism fetish cop to begin

The trial of a German police officer accused of murdering a willing victim he met on a website for cannibalism fetishists starts on Friday in the eastern city of Dresden. READ  

False teeth of the dead: finders keepers?
Coffins awaiting incineration in a crematorium. Photo: DPA

False teeth of the dead: finders keepers?

An Erfurt court has decided not to force a 56-year old man to pay damages for more than 31 kilos of gold teeth taken from the crematorium in Hamburg where he worked between 2003 and 2011. READ  

Siemens lands €650m Norway wind power deal
Photo: DPA

Siemens lands €650m Norway wind power deal

German engineering giant Siemens has won a contract worth €650 million to supply wind turbines to Norwegian power groups Statoil and Statkraft, the company said Thursday. READ  

BVB seeks cash to match Bayern
Photo: DPA

BVB seeks cash to match Bayern

Borussia Dortmund announced its plan to raise €114.4 million on Thursday in an effort to compete with Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich. READ  

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue
Call me maybe: The Berlin-Moscow hot-line has been busy. Photo: DPA

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue

"If there's somethin' strange in your neighbourhood; Who ya gonna call?" If you're Vladimir Putin, growing ever more isolated among his G8 peers, it's Angela Merkel, say the Kremlin hot-line stats. READ  

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad
A Belgian "suicide kit" including the commonly-used drug sodium pentothal. Photo: DPA

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad

A study revealed today that more people traveled to Switzerland to undergo assisted dying from Germany than from any other country in 2012. READ  

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni
Photo: DPA

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni

More young people are choosing university degrees over vocational training, leaving firms scrambling to find qualified new hires. READ  

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos
The Bamberg Clinic, where alleged abuse was reported. Photo: DPA

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos

Police in Bavaria have arrested a 48-year-old doctor for allegedly drugging and raping medical test volunteers, media reported Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
Society
A German journalist shares the story of his US arrest in Ferguson
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,348
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd