Leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma mortality (1950-1999) and incidence (1969-1999) in the Eldorado uranium workers cohort
Abstract of the journal article published in Environmental Research
Date of publication: January 9, 2014
Rachel S. D. Lane
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Lydia B. Zablotska, Stanley E. Frost, Patsy A. Thompson
Uranium workers are chronically exposed to low levels of radon decay products (RDP) and gamma (γ) radiation. Risks of leukemia from acute and high doses of γ-radiation are well-characterized, but risks from lower doses and dose-rates and from RDP exposures are controversial. Few studies have evaluated risks of other hematologic cancers in uranium workers. The purpose of this study was to analyze radiation-related risks of hematologic cancers in the cohort of Eldorado uranium miners and processors first employed in 1932-1980 in relation to cumulative RDP exposures and γ-ray doses. The average cumulative RDP exposure was 100.2 working level months and the average cumulative whole-body γ-radiation dose was 52.2 millisieverts. We identified 101 deaths and 160 cases of hematologic cancers in the cohort. Overall, male workers had lower mortality and cancer incidence rates for all outcomes compared with the general Canadian male population, a likely healthy worker effect. No statistically significant association between RDP exposure or γ-ray doses, or a combination of both, and mortality or incidence of any hematologic cancer was found. We observed consistent but non-statistically significant increases in risks of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) incidence and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) mortality with increasing γ-ray doses. These findings are consistent with recent studies of increased risks of CLL and NHL incidence after γ-radiation exposure. Further research is necessary to understand risks of other hematologic cancers from low-dose exposures to γ-radiation.
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