Americium-241 (²4¹Am) is the second most significant radiation hazard after ²³?Pu at some of the Mayak Production Association facilities. This study summarizes current data on the accumulation, distribution, and excretion of americium compared with plutonium in different organs from former Mayak PA workers. Americium and plutonium were measured in autopsy and bioassay samples and correlated with the presence or absence of chronic disease and with biological transportability of the aerosols encountered at different workplaces. The relative accumulation of ²4¹Am was found to be increasing in the workers over time. This is likely from ²4¹Pu that increases with time in reprocessed fuel and from the increased concentrations of ²4¹Am and ²4¹Pu in inhaled alpha-active aerosols. While differences were observed in lung retention with exposures to different industrial compounds with different transportabilities (i.e., dioxide and nitrates), there were no significant differences in lung retention between americium and plutonium within each transportability group. In the non-pulmonary organs, the highest ratios of ²4¹Am/²4¹Am + SPu were observed in the skeleton. The relative ratios of americium in the skeleton versus liver were significantly greater than for plutonium. The relative amounts of americium and plutonium found in the skeleton compared with the liver were even greater in workers with documented chronic liver diseases. Excretion rates of ²4¹Am in ‘‘healthy’’ workers were estimated using bioassay and autopsy data. The data suggest that impaired liver function leads to reduced hepatic ²4¹Am retention, leading to increased ²4¹Am excretion.
The paper discusses the provision of targeted health care to nuclear workers in Russia based on radiation-epidemiological estimates of cancer risks. Cancer incidence rates are analysed for the workers of the Institute of Physical Power Engineering (the first nuclear installation in the world) who were subjected to individual dosimetric monitoring from 1950 to 2002. The value of excess relative risk for solid cancers was found to be ERR Gy(-1) = 0.24 (95% CI: -4.22; 7.96). It has been shown that 81.8% of the persons covered by individual dosimetric monitoring have potential attributive risk up to 5%, and the risk is more than 10% for 3.7% of the workers. Among the detected cancer cases, 73.5% of the individuals show an attributive risk up to 5% and the risk is in excess of 10% for 3.9% of the workers. Principles for the provision of targeted health care, given voluntary health insurance, are outlined.
The Techa River Dosimetry System (TRDS) has been developed to provide estimates of dose received by approximately 30,000 members of the Extended Techa River Cohort (ETRC). Members of the ETRC were exposed beginning in 1949 to significant levels of external and internal (mainly from (90)Sr) dose but at low to moderate dose rates. Members of this cohort are being studied in an effort to test the hypothesis that exposure at low to moderate dose rates has the same ability to produce stochastic health effects as exposure at high dose rates. The current version of the TRDS is known as TRDS-2000 and is the subject of this paper. The estimated doses from (90)Sr are supported strongly by approximately 30,000 measurements made with a tooth beta-particle counter, measurements of bones collected at autopsy, and approximately 38,000 measurements made with a special whole-body counter that detects the bremsstrahlung from (90)Y. The median doses to the red bone marrow and the bone surface are 0.21 and 0.37 Gy, respectively. The maximum doses to the red bone marrow and bone surface are 2.0 and 5.2 Gy, respectively. Distributions of dose to other organs are provided and are lower than the values given above. Directions for future work are discussed.
A study of Down's syndrome in Lothian for the years 1978-1989 revealed a significantly higher than expected incidence of cases in 1987. The increased incidence was particularly significant among women aged 35 years or more. The increase could not be attributed to demographic changes on birth rates or to the age distribution of the women concerned. A temporal association between the cluster of cases and the events at Chernobyl in April 1986 was demonstrated. However, according to current understanding, there is no biologically plausible explanation to link the 2 events, given the reported levels of radioactive fallout in the Lothian region, resulting from the Chernobyl disaster. An explanation for the increased incidence of Down's syndrome in 1987 remains outstanding.
Four regression models have been fitted to data of the monthly number of induced abortions in Italy between January 1984 and April 1986, in order to predict the number which would have occurred in the 5 months following the Chernobyl explosion. In model I the average number of abortions per day in each month was the dependent variable and calendar months, a linear time trend and previous month's value were the independent variables. Model II included a quadratic time trend term in addition to the independent variables used in model I. Models III and IV were like models I and II except that the dependent variable was the average number of abortions per working day in each month and the effect of the previous month's value was omitted. The 4 models all implied that an excess number of abortions were performed in the 5 months following the Chernobyl accident. The mean daily excess was estimated to be 28 and 52 per day for models I and II and the mean excess per working day was estimated to be 20 and 30 by models III and IV, respectively. Clearly the estimated magnitude of the excess depends on whether the quadratic time trend is included among the explanatory variables, but these results imply that the excess is unlikely to be merely due to chance.
For Berlin (West) the rate of trisomy 21 among newborn and all prenatally diagnosed cases can be almost completely recorded, including the maternal age distribution. During the 9-year-period from 1980 and 1988 the average number of trisomy 21 per month was about 2, following a Poisson distribution. A significant increase (P less than 0.01) was observed in January 1987, exactly 9 months after the Chernobyl accident. In a supraregional study based on greater than 30,000 prenatal diagnoses performed in 1986, no significant effect could be observed. However, the highest rates of trisomy 21 were observed in the more heavily contaminated, southern part of Germany. The majority of these fetuses were conceived during the period of greatest radioactive exposure. The data are discussed with respect to the effect of low-dose radiation around the time of conception on the induction of non-disjunction in man.
The number of legal abortions in Sweden increased around the time of the Chernobyl accident, particularly in the summer and autumn of 1986. Although there was no recording of reasons for legal abortions, one might have suspected this increase to be a result of fear and anxiety after the accident. However, seen over a longer time perspective, the increase in the number of abortions started before and continued far beyond the time of the accident. There was also a simultaneous and pronounced increase in the number of births during the years subsequent to the accident. Therefore, it seems unlikely that fear of the consequences of radioactive fall-out after the Chernobyl accident resulted in any substantial increase of the number of legal abortions in Sweden.
This Mayak worker-based study focuses on evaluating possible associations between malignant liver cancers and chronic alpha irradiation, chronic gamma irradiation, and non-radiation risk factors (alcohol consumption, smoking, viral hepatitis, chemical exposure, and chronic digestive diseases). This is the first multivariate study related to liver cancer among Mayak workers. The study was performed using the nested, case-control approach and includes 44 cases of malignant liver tumors diagnosed from 1972 to 1999, and 111 matched controls. Adjusted odds ratio (OR(ad)) was evaluated relative to a group of workers with alpha radiation doses to liver (D(alpha)) 2.0 Gy (corresponding (239)Pu body burden estimates >20.4 kBq) were significantly associated (p 2.0-5.0 Gy and was 62.5 (7.4, 500) for a group with D(alpha) > 5.0-16.9 Gy. The attributable risk (AR) was calculated as 82%. For HCC, O(Rad) was estimated as 8.4 (0.8, 85.3; p 2.0-9.3 Gy. For the indicated group, the AR was 14%. An association with high external gamma-ray doses (D(gamma)) to the total body was revealed for both HCC and for combined liver cancers when dose was treated as a continuous variable. However, we find no evidence that chronic low doses of gamma rays are associated with liver cancer occurrence. Cholangiocarcinoma (CHC) was not associated with either alpha- or gamma-ray exposure. As expected, an association between alcohol abuse and HCC was inferred [O(Rad) = 3.3 (1.2, 9); AR = 41%] but not for CHC or HAS.
During the months following the accident in Chernobyl, Denmark experienced an increasing rate of induced abortion, especially in regions with the largest measured increase in radiation. As the increase in radiation in Denmark was so low that almost no increased risk of birth defects was expected, the public debate and anxiety among the pregnant women and their husbands "caused" more fetal deaths in Denmark than the accident. This underlines the importance of public debate, the role of the mass media and of the way in which National Health authorities participate in this debate.
On April 26, 1986 a major nuclear disaster took place at 1 h 24 min local time, destroying the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl plant. Five years later the consequences of the disaster are still not fully known. Nevertheless the long term future of nuclear energy in the world is uncertain. Questions need to be answered by observing hard facts if emotional attitudes are not to prevail over reality. The reactor and its core were destroyed by an explosion, causing two radioactive jet emissions of iodine 131, followed by caesium 137. Both elements are mainly incorporated in the body via food. The Chernobyl disaster was a consequence of inadequate safety regulations and human error. Enforcement of strict regulations are likely to be highly effective in preventing a further catastrophe. However, governments should consider another possibility. What would be the consequences for public health if a terroristic act deliberately destroyed a nuclear power station?