It will be clear from the aforegoing that occupational standards have varied over the past 30-40 years since the beginnings of the nuclear industry. Our perception of risk rates for cancer mortality and genetic effects has changed, such that the rates have been constantly revised upwards. Logically, dose limits should have been reduced in proportion, but this assumes a constant approach to the "tolerability" or "acceptability" of risk and this has not been demonstrated. Dose limits are not seen by management in the nuclear industry as the only plank in the structure of radiation protection; emphasis is also being given to the "optimization" ethic. In these circumstances a good test of the efficacy of the system of radiation control in limiting health effects is needed. As can be seen, no such study is available and, given the doses received and the numbers of workers involved, it is unlikely that any epidemiologic study, apart from studies on miners, will have sufficient statistical power to be totally unequivocal. However, some studies have shown cancer mortality associations with radiation exposure that are significant. Probably the best way to mitigate the inherent drawbacks in these studies is to pool data-sets, and this is being done. Other improvements will include estimates of cancer incidence in countries with cancer registries (e.g., U.K., Canada, and Sweden) and to perhaps go beyond epidemiologic data to consider sensitive biologic markers as indices of exposure. Overall the conclusion must be that the radiation industry cannot be complacent and for some tasks in the processes involved (e.g., uranium mining) there is strong evidence of a history of unacceptable health effects occurring.
Presents the data of analysis of medical files of therapeutic institutions, of questionnaires distributed among dentists, and the results of examinations of 883 children aged 3 to 6, living in 19 towns of Byelorussia. The incidence and clinical picture of a number of dental diseases were found changed in the children living in the regions contaminated with radionuclides, as well as the general well-being of these children.
It was attempted to assess the incidence of thyroid diseases in Polish children born between 1980-1986, who at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster were 0-6 years old, or whose mothers were in the third trimester of pregnancy. 3071 children have been examined, 1772 girls and 1299 boys. The following were assessed in each child: the health status, the developmental level, the thyroid ultrasound examination, and the level of TSH, FT4, antithyroid antibodies ATM and ATGL in the blood serum. Disorders in thyroid morphology (abnormal echogenicity) have been found in 462 children (15%), almost twice as much in girls than in boys. Goiter has been recognized in 4.6% of all children, an abnormal echogenity in 5.4% and focal changes in 4.8%. 3.9% of children have been found to have a high level of ATM antibodies, and 8.7%--a high level of ATGL antibodies. Among 6 children, who had thyroidectomy, 2 children have been diagnosed to have ca papillary and 4 children--adenoma.
Because of their well-documented exposures to repeated low doses of ionizing radiation, nuclear reactor workers offer an opportunity to assess cancer risk from low-dose radiation. A cohort of all 15,619 Finnish nuclear reactor workers was established through dose-monitoring records. A questionnaire survey revealed no substantial differences in consumption of tobacco or alcohol between different exposure groups nor between nuclear power company employees and contract workers. In the follow-up for cancer incidence, no clear excess in cancer incidence was observed overall, nor was any observed in any of the specific cancer types studied. There was little evidence for an association between cancer incidence and cumulative radiation dose, but the statistical power was limited. More precise estimates will be available from an international collaborative study of nuclear industry workers, including our cohort.
One group that has the potential to be exposed to radiation is workers in the nuclear industry. Results of a systematic medical follow-up and dosimetric monitoring of these workers can form the basis for a study of the relationship between cancer incidence and radiation dose. As part of such efforts in Russia, a major institution of the nuclear industry with an established medical care unit, archiving capabilities, and dosimetry department was selected: the Institute of Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE) in Obninsk. In the study, a comparative analysis of cancer incidence rates for the IPPE workers and for the general population of Russia in 1991-1997 was carried out. The subjects were the IPPE workers hired before 1981. This restriction was imposed to reduce the uncertainty associated with the possible latent period in the development of solid cancers. Thus the possibility of including persons who already had the disease at the time when they were hired was minimized. The analysis is based on information about 158 cancer cases, including 24 cancers in persons under individual dosimetric monitoring. A statistically significant excess in cancer incidence was found among the IPPE workers compared with a comparison population (the general population of Russia) for some types of cancers. The SIR values for all cancers (ICD-9: 140-208) is 0.93 (95% CI 0.76, 1.12) for males and 1.42 (95% CI 1.06, 1.87) for females. A statistically significant excess for all cancers was also observed for residents of Obninsk compared to the control comparison population. The corresponding SIR value was 1.20 (95% CI 1.12, 1.28) for males and 1.58 (95% CI 1.49, 1.69) for females. An important reason for the observed excess in cancer incidence compared to the control population may be the higher level of health care in the so-called nuclear cities of Russia which may have resulted in increased diagnosis and registration of cancers. A statistically significant dependence of the cancer incidence on the dose of ionizing radiation was not established. The excess relative risk per gray for all types of cancer was 0.91 (95% CI -2.75, 4.61) for males and 0.40 (95% CI -6.94, 7.83) for females. These estimates should be considered to be preliminary, as the number of cases considered in the analysis of the dose response is small (17 males and 7 females).
The incidence of and mortality from cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) have been studied in a cohort of 12,210 workers first employed at one of the main plants of the Mayak nuclear facility during 1948-1958 and followed up to 31 December 2000. Information on external ?-ray doses is available for virtually all of these workers (99.9%); the mean total ?-ray dose (± SD) was 0.91 ± 0.95 Gy (99th percentile 3.9 Gy) for men and 0.65 ± 0.75 Gy (99th percentile 2.99 Gy) for women. In contrast, plutonium body burden was measured only for 30.0% of workers; among those monitored, the mean cumulative liver dose from plutonium a-particle exposure (± SD) was 0.40 ± 1.15 Gy (99th percentile 5.88 Gy) for men and 0.81 ± 4.60 Gy (99th percentile 15.95 Gy) for women. A total of 4418 cases of CVD, including 665 cases of stroke, and 753 deaths from CVD, including 404 deaths from stroke, were identified in the study cohort. Having adjusted for non-radiation factors, there were statistically significant increasing trends in CVD incidence but not mortality with both total external ?-ray dose and internal liver dose. Much of the evidence for increased incidence in relation to external dose arose for workers with cumulative doses above 1 Gy. Although the dose response is consistent with linearity, the statistical power to detect non-linearity at external doses below 1 Gy was low. CVD incidence was statistically significantly higher among workers with a plutonium liver dose above 0.1 Gy. There was a statistically significant increasing trend in incidence with increasing internal dose, even after adjusting for external dose, although the trend estimates differed between workers at different plants. The risk estimates for external radiation are generally compatible with those from other large occupational studies, although the incidence data point to higher risk estimates compared to those from the Japanese A-bomb survivors.
The objective of the European Childhood Leukaemia-Lymphoma Incidence Study (ECLIS) is to investigate trends in incidence rates of childhood leukaemia and lymphoma in Europe, in relation to the exposure to radiation which resulted from the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in April 1986. In this first report, the incidence of leukaemia in children aged 0-14 is presented from cancer registries in 20 European countries for the period 1980-1988. Risk of leukaemia in 1987-1988 (8-32 months post-accident) relative to that before 1986, is compared with estimated average dose of radiation received by the population in 30 geographic areas. The observed changes in incidence do not relate to exposure. The period of follow-up is so far rather brief, and the study is planned to continue for at least 10 years.