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Chernobyl Clean-Up Workers

Leukemia Risk in Chernobyl Clean-up Workers

Following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, hundreds of thousands of clean-up workers were exposed primarily to external radiation with those sent earliest receiving the highest doses. (140 mGy in 1986, 90 mGy in 1987 and 40 mGy in 1988-89). Studies of cancer among clean-up workers have focused on leukemia. Investigators in DCEG have conducted a case-control study of leukemia and other hematological diseases based on a large cohort of male clean-up workers from Ukraine (~110,000). Individual doses to the bone marrow were estimated using a new method developed for this study. In part because of the intriguing findings, the study has been extended to accrue cases for an additional five years.

Leukemia Risk in Baltic Clean-up Workers

In a separate study of cancer incidence among Chernobyl clean-up workers from Estonia and Latvia, DCEG investigators did not observe a significantly elevated risk of leukemia. Thyroid cancer was increased, but this appeared to be due largely to screening.

For more information on both studies, contact Kiyohiko Mabuchi.

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