The nuclear accident at Chernobyl accounted for an acute radiation syndrome in 237 persons on the site. Triage was the initial problem and was carried out according to clinical and biological criteria; evaluating the doses received was based on these criteria. Thirty one persons died and only 1 survived a dose higher than 6 Gy. Skin radiation burns which were due to inadequate decontamination, greatly worsened prognosis. The results of 13 bone marrow transplantations were disappointing, with only 2 survivors. Some time after the accident, these severely irradiated patients are mainly suffering from psychosomatic disorders, in the USSR, some areas have been significantly contaminated and several measures were taken to mitigate the impact on population: evacuating 135,000 persons, distributing prophylactic iodine, establishing standards and controls on foodstuff. Radiation phobia syndrome which developed in many persons, is the only sanitary effect noticed up to now. Finally, in Europe, there was only an increase in induced abortions and this was totally unwarranted. If we consider the risk of radiation induced cancer, an effect might not be demonstrated.
The level of radiation exposure in children in Belarus caused by the Chernobyl accident was investigated on the basis of whole body 137Cs count. The subjects were 10,062 children (4,762 boys and 5,300 girls) in Mogilev and Gomel, Belarus, who received Chernobyl Sasakawa Health and Medical Cooperation Project health examinations from May 1991 to December 1992 and who were 5-16 y old at the time of examination. The median whole body 137Cs count per body weight varied from 21-48 Bq kg-1 and from 28-126 Bq kg-1 in Mogilev oblast and Gomel oblast, respectively. (The "oblast" is the largest administrative district constituting the country. Belarus consists of 6 oblasts). Corresponding annual effective dose equivalents were all less than the public dose limit of 1 mSv y-1, but the observed levels in the children were considerably higher than the average level of 2.3 Bq kg-1 reported in the past for the former Soviet Union.
Comment In: Health Phys. 1995 May;68(5):733-57730075
137Cs activities were measured in a variety of epigeic and epiphytic lichens in Austria before and after contamination by the Chernobyl fallout. For comparison, the activity of the naturally occurring 40K was also determined in each lichen sample. The high 137Cs activities found after Chernobyl suggest that lichens are suitable and inexpensive biological detectors of the fallout pattern.
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) has published a substantive series of reports concerning sources, effects, and risks of ionizing radiation. This article summarizes the highlights and conclusions from the most recent 1986 and 1988 reports. The present annual per person effective dose equivalent for the world's population is about 3 mSv. The majority of this (2.4 mSv) comes from natural background, and 0.4 to 1 mSv is from medical exposures. Other sources contribute less than 0.02 mSv annually. The worldwide collective effective dose equivalent annually is between 13 and 16 million person-Sv. The Committee assessed the collective effective dose equivalent to the population of the northern hemisphere from the reactor accident at Chernobyl and concluded that this is about 600,000 person-Sv. The Committee also reviewed risk estimates for radiation carcinogenesis which included the new Japanese dosimetry at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These data indicate that risk coefficient estimates for high doses and high dose rate low-LET radiation in the Japanese population are approximately 3-10% Sv-1, depending on the projection model utilized. The Committee also indicated that, in calculation of such risks at low doses and low dose rates, a risk-reduction factor in the range of 2-10 may be considered.
Our objective was to explore whether the radiation fallout in Finland after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in April 1986 led to an increased incidence of trisomy 21. In this geographic and temporal cohort study, the country was divided into three zones according to the amounts of radioactive fallout and internal radiation caused by two cesium isotopes. The 518 cytologically verified cases of trisomy 21 were divided into a control group (conceived before the accident), and a study group of children whose expected dates of birth were in the post-accident years 1987-1988, i.e., pregnancies commenced after May 1986. The cases were also divided into three subgroups according to the zones of radiation. There were no significant differences in prevalence of trisomy 21 between the control and study groups nor between the three zones in spite of the significant differences in the levels of radiation and in the body burden that prevailed throughout the study period. Power estimates showed that in the two zones of lower radiation, an increase of 0.5% in the prevalence would have been detected with a power of 0.85, and in the somewhat smaller zone of the highest radiation, with a power of 0.70. The study lends no further support to the view that the low radiation fallout in western Europe would have been causally associated with trisomy 21.
[A computing laboratory-clinical system in the screening of malignant tumors: study of the state of the antioxidant system and level of cellular proliferation markers among the population from the Chernobyl AES accident area]
The author bases and describes the computing laboratory and clinical system for screening groups at a higher risk for malignant neoplasms whose incidence is likely to increase due to irradiation. Two years after the disaster the detected group at a higher risk was 2-2.4 times larger than the control group among persons who received the total irradiation dose 5 rem and over as well as among persons who are to be removed from the area polluted with radionuclides whatever the dose. As the time elapsed since the disaster increases, the number of subjects with a higher level of biomarkers also grows. It is advisable that this system be introduced in all fields of the practical health care in the polluted and control areas to carry out goal-oriented treatment and diagnostic measures in the selected population groups.
[Activities of the Byelorussian scientific association of phthisiatrists and the phthisiatric organization of the Republic in the circumstances of complicated critical state of tuberculosis in connection with the Chernobyl AES accident]
A selected group of about 20 male researchers at the NIRS that reside in Chiba, Japan, was measured for total body content of radiocesium and 40K every 3 mo from February 1986 to May 1991. A whole-body counter at the NIRS was used to measure their radioactivity in a scanning mode of 5 cm min-1 in a shielded iron room with walls 20 cm in thickness. A maximum radiocesium level of 59 Bq was observed in May 1987. The annual change in the body burden decreased with an apparent half-time of 1.8 y after May 1987. The period of five years was sufficient to eliminate the effects of the accident in this group. Even in the most contaminated period, the dose from radiocesium was below 2 microSv y-1. The cumulative dose for 5 y was estimated to be 5.6 microSv, which is nearly equal to the total dose to the Japanese people caused by the artificial radionuclide fallout for the first year following the accident. It is much smaller than the committed dose of 82 microSv for internally deposited 137Cs resulting from nuclear explosions in 1961 and 1962 and the annual dose of 170 microSv from internal 40K. No detectable health risk was expected for the present group.