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Compilation of Radiation Studies Showing Health Effects.


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Legend for “Percent Increase in Cancer Incidence, Cancer Mortality, and Other Health Effects of Human Exposure to Ionizing Radiation”

  1. 1500% increase in incidence of testicular and ovarian cancer in children on Navaho reservation in uranium mining area

  2. 500% increase in bone cancer in children affected by uranium

  3. 250% increase in leukemia (all ages) in the Navaho population

  4. 200% increase in each of the following non-cancer effects: miscarriage, infant death, congenital defects, genetic abnormalities, learning disorders.
    Baseline for 1-4: Navajo residents living near Uranium facilities were compared to Navajo residents in non-uranium areas

  5. 500% increase in birth defects when compared to the national average.
    (Southwest Research and Information Center. “Uranium Legacy.” The Workbook, v 8, no 6. Albuquerque, NM: 1983)

  6. 400% increase in leukemia incidence in the population living downwind of the Pilgrim nuclear power reactor in Massachusetts in the first 5 years after fuel was know to have leaked excess radioactivity.
    Baseline: Disease in population before and after Pilgrim radioactive releases and comparison to upwind population.
    (Morris M. Knorr R. The Southeastern Massachusetts Health Study 1978-1986-Report of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. October 1990. See also: Clapp R. Cobb S. et al. “Leukemia Near Massachusetts Nuclear Power Plant.” Letter in Lancet. December 5, 1987)

  7. 300—400% increase in lung cancer in the general population within the plume of the Three Mile Island accident releases

  8. 600—700% increase in leukemia in the general population within the plume of Three Mile Island accident releases
    Baseline: Disease in population upwind (out of the radiation plume path) is compared to disease in population downwind (in the pollution plume.)
    (Wing S. Richardson D. et al. “A Reevaluation of Cancer Incidence Near the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant: The Collision of Evidence and Assumptions.” Environmental Health Perspectives, v 105, no 1. National Institutes of Health. Bethesda, Maryland. January 1997)

  9. 50% increase in childhood cancer incidence in the Three Mile Island area for each 10 millirem increase in radiation exposure per year.
    Baseline: Children living with different radiation levels are compared for evidence of disease.

    (Hatch M. et al. “Background Gamma Radiation and Childhood Cancers Within Ten Miles of a US Nuclear Power Plant.” International Journal of Epidemiology, v 19, no 3. 1990)

  10. 8000% increase in thyroid cancer in Belarussian children living near Chernobyl, reported 6 years after the meltdown.
    Baseline: Comparison of population health before and after the Chernobyl explosion.
    (Hudson RL. “Child Cancers Found to Rise Near Chernobyl.” The Wall Street Journal. September 3, 1992. The article they quote was published in Nature on the same day and was researched by the World Health Organization.)

  11. Further effects found in victims of the Chernobyl accident less than ten years after the meltdown

  12. 500% increase in thyroid cancer in Ukrainian children.

  13. 75% increased incidence of heart disease

  14. 200% increase in respiratory and digestive disease

  15. 200% increase in birth defects

  16. 200% increase in spontaneous abortions
    Baseline: Comparison of population health before and after the Chernobyl explosion
    (Rupert J. “Illness Tied to Disaster Still on Rise.” The Washington Post. June 24, 1995. The reporter was quoting Britain’s Imperial Cancer Research Fund, The Ukrainian Health Ministry and the United Nations.)

  17. 63% increase in leukemia incidence among workers at Oak Ridge National Laboratories(US) who received very low doses of external (gamma) radiation on the job.

  18. 123% increase in leukemia incidence in the same population where there were also very low internal doses of radioactivity
    Baseline: Cohort comparison of worker deaths and radiation exposure levels
    (Wing S. Shy C. et al. “Mortality Among Workers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory: Evidence of Radiation Effects in Follow-up Through 1984.” JAMA, v 265 no 11. March 20, 1991)

  19. 80% increase in eight types of cancer deaths in Department of Energy atomic workers exposed to external doses of radiation.
    Baseline: Various baselines. Usually cohort comparison of workers with various doses and their deaths from resulting diseases were used.
    (Mancuso TF. Stewart A. Kneale G. “Radiation Exposures of Hanford Workers Dying From Cancer and Other Causes.” Health Physics, v 33. Pergamon Press, Great Britain. November 1977)

  20. 200% increase in leukemia in children of atomic workers
    Baseline: The parents of children with cancer were compared for occupation to discern if those adults who worked with radiation had more children with cancer than those who worked in other jobs.
    (Roman E. et al. “Case-control Study of Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Among Children Aged 0-4 years Living in West Berkshire and North Hampshire Health Districts.” BMJ 1993 #306)

  21. 287% increase in cancer incidence in children of nuclear workers who received internal radiation in England
    Baseline: The parents of children with cancer were compared for occupation to discern if those adults who worked with radiation had more children with cancer than those who worked in other jobs.
    (Sorahan T. Roberts PJ. “Childhood Cancer and Paternal Exposure to Ionizing Radiation: Preliminary Findings From the Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancers.” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, v 23: 343-354. 1993)

  22. 250% increase in all cancers among atomic workers.

  23. 190% increase in leukemia incidence
    Baseline: General Population
    (Kendall. GM. et al. “Mortality and Occupational Exposure to Radiation: First Analysis of the National Registry for Radiation Workers.” BMJ v 304: 220-5. 1992)

  24. 500% increase in childhood leukemia in children visiting the beach once a week near the French nuclear reprocessing facility at LaHague

  25. 760% increase in childhood leukemia if they ate the local fish regularly

  26. 345% increase in childhood leukemia associated with drinking well water from the vicinity of the nuclear facility
    Baseline: Observed leukemia cases were compared to expected leukemia cases.
    (Viel JF. Pobel D. Incidence of Leukaemia in Young People Around the La Hague Nuclear Waste Reprocessing Plant: A Sensitivity Analysis.” Statistics in Medicine, v 14: 2459-2472. 1995)

  27. 1200% increase in all cancers exist around the Sellafield, (formerly Windscale) reprocessing facility and of these.

  28. 600-1000% increase in leukemia of children whose fathers were exposed to certain amounts of radiation prior to conception

  29. 1000% increase in lymphoma was found in children near a reprocessing facility in Cumbria
    Baseline: Local and Area Controls
    (Gardner et al. “Results of Case-control Study of Leukemia and Lymphoma Among Young People Near Sellafield Nuclear Plant in West Cumbria.” BMJ v 300. February 17, 1990)

  30. 1000% increase in leukemia incidence in children living near a nuclear reprocessing facility
    Baseline: Children of the same age in the same area prior to the facility’s operation.
    (Heasman et al. “Childhood Leukemia in Northern Scotland.” Lancet, v 1:266. 1986)

  31. 27.3% increase in all cancer deaths among atomic workers exposed to internal doses of radiation
    Baseline: Comparison of worker deaths and radiation exposure levels.
    (Morgenstern H. Froines J. Epidemiologic Study to Determine Possible Adverse Effects to Rocketdyne/Atomics International Workers from Exposure to Ionizing Radiation. State of California Health and Welfare Agency. June 1997)

  32. 500% increase in leukemia among Utah nuclear bomb test Downwinders

  33. 121% increase in thyroid cancer incidence in the same group

  34. 200% increase in breast cancer

  35. 700% increase in bone cancer
    Baseline: Utah Mormons exposed to bomb fallout are compared to all Utah Mormons.
    (Johnson CJ. “Cancer Incidence in an Area of Radioactive Fallout Downwind From the Nevada Test Site.” JAMA, v 251 n 2: 231-6. January 13, 1984)

  36. a greater then 120% increase in thyroid cancer in those who drank milk laced with Iodine-131 from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests
    Baseline: Estimated cases are based on dose reconstruction where estimated exposures were between 6-112 rads per individual child in the bombs’ plumes.
    (Ortmeyer P. Makhijani A. “Let Them Drink Milk.” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Nov/Dec. 1997)

  37. 200% increase in lung cancer in women who received radiation treatments for breast cancer
    Baseline: Breast cancer patients treated with radiation were compared to those who were treated only by other methods.
    (Bishop JE. “Study Links Breast Cancer Treatment to Higher Risk of the Disease in Lungs.” The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 1993: B6)

  38. 66—96% increase in early cancer deaths due to background radiation
    Baseline: Deaths of children living with different radiation levels are compared for cancer.
    (Kneale GW. Stewart AM. “Childhood Cancers in the UK and their Relation to Background Radiation.” Radiation and Health. 1987)

This list was compiled by Cindy Folkers & Mary Olson on 4/24/98, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, 1424 16 th St, NW Suite 404, Washington, DC 20036 (202)328-0002 -- it is arbitrarily based on what studies are on file at NIRS.

A partial list of non-cancer health effects of human exposure to radiation:

Downs Syndrome
Cleft Lip and Palate
Kidney and Liver Damage
Thyroid Disease
Low Birthweight
Increased Infant Mortality
Increased Stillbirth
Genetic Mutations/Chromosomal Aberrations
Spinal Defects
Congenital Malformations