Little is known about long-term cancer risks following in utero radiation exposure. We evaluated the association between in utero radiation exposure and risk of solid cancer and leukemia mortality among 8,000 offspring, born from 1948-1988, of female workers at the Mayak Nuclear Facility in Ozyorsk, Russia. Mother's cumulative gamma radiation uterine dose during pregnancy served as a surrogate for fetal dose. We used Poisson regression methods to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of solid cancer and leukemia mortality associated with in utero radiation exposure and to quantify excess relative risks (ERRs) as a function of dose. Using currently available dosimetry information, 3,226 (40%) offspring were exposed in utero (mean dose = 54.5 mGy). Based on 75 deaths from solid cancers (28 exposed) and 12 (6 exposed) deaths from leukemia, in utero exposure status was not significantly associated with solid cancer: RR = 0.94, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.49; ERR/Gy = -0.1 (95% CI
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In 1945, within the frame of the Uranium Project for the production of nuclear weapons, the Mayak nuclear facilities were constructed at the Lake Irtyash in the Southern Urals, Russia. The nuclear workers of the Mayak Production Association (MPA), who lived in the city of Ozyorsk, are the focus of epidemiological studies for the assessment of health risks due to protracted exposure to ionising radiation. Electron paramagnetic resonance measurements of absorbed dose in tooth enamel have already been used in the past, in an effort to validate occupational external doses that were evaluated in the Mayak Worker Dosimetry System. In the present study, 229 teeth of Ozyorsk citizens not employed at MPA were investigated for the assessment of external background exposure in Ozyorsk. The annually absorbed dose in tooth enamel from natural background radiation was estimated to be (0.7 ± 0.3) mGy. For citizens living in Ozyorsk during the time of routine noble gas releases of the MPA, which peaked in 1953, the average excess absorbed dose in enamel above natural background was (36 ± 29) mGy, which is consistent with the gamma dose obtained by model calculations. In addition, there were indications of possible accidental gaseous MPA releases that affected the population of Ozyorsk, during the early and late MPA operation periods, before 1951 and after 1960.
It is scientifically uncertain whether in utero exposure to low-dose ionising radiation increases the lifetime risk of haematological malignancies.
We pooled two cohorts from the Southern Urals comprising offspring of female workers of a large nuclear facility (the Mayak Production Association) and of women living in areas along the Techa River contaminated by nuclear accidents/waste from the same facility, with detailed dosimetry.
The combined cohort totalled 19?536 subjects with 700?504 person-years at risk over the period of incidence follow-up, and slightly more over the period of mortality follow-up, yielding 58 incident cases and 36 deaths up to age 61 years. Risk was increased in subjects who received in utero doses of ?80?mGy (excess relative risk (ERR): 1.27; 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.20 to 4.71), and the risk increased consistently per 100?mGy of continuous exposure in utero (ERR: 0.77; CI: 0.02 to 2.56). No association was apparent in mortality-based analyses. Results for leukaemia and lymphoma were similar. A very weak positive association was observed between incidence and postnatal exposure.
In summary, the results suggest a positive association between in utero exposure to ionising radiation and risk of haematological malignancies, but the small number of outcomes and inconsistent incidence and mortality findings preclude firm conclusions.