[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 2, 1990

Letter From Ipoh

JAMA. 1990;263(5):662. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440050056029

To the Editor.—  In August 1988, JAMA published a Letter From Ipoh by Dr Wagner,1 expert witness for the Asian Rare Earth Company (ARE), Malaysia. We have also been involved with the Ipoh court case. Dr Wagner was incorrect in claiming citizen protests were a result of "nuclear panic" imported from the developed countries.The Malaysian people were alerted to the radioactive waste at the ARE facility when two women employees gave birth to children with severe neurological damage. Concentrated thorium hydroxide was found on-site in drums with a surface radiation dose rate of 0.1 mSv/h. Workers, including pregnant women, were never warned.Radioactive waste was also dumped carelessly in open trenches near a public road. During its cleanup, there were high dust levels and the miscarriage rate doubled. A pregnancy ended with a neurologically damaged child. These effects have a well-documented relationship with radiation exposure.2 We also