[ RadSafe ] IAEA Daily Press Review 05 March 2008: Nuclear study finds link to heart disease
Dan W McCarn
hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Wed Mar 5 07:28:39 CST 2008
Hi - The following was in today's IAEA Daily Press Review 05 March 2008
To quote the summary at the end of the article, "Workers at the sites have
lower average mortality than the local population as a whole."
Nuclear study finds link to heart disease A big study of nuclear workers has
suggested an unexpectedly strong link between radiation exposure and heart
Nuclear study finds link to heart disease
By Clive Cookson, Science Editor
Published: March 5 2008 02:00 | Last updated: March 5 2008 02:00
A big study of nuclear workers has suggested an unexpectedly strong link
between radiation exposure and heart disease.
The study, published yesterday, analysed health records and radiation doses
for 65,000 people employed at four nuclear sites - Sellafield, Capenhurst
and Springfields, in north-west England, and Chaplecross in south-west
Scotland - between 1946 and 2005.
Scientists from Westlakes Consulting, a non-profit research organisation in
Cumbria, found a strong statistical association between increasing radiation
and diseases of the heart and circulation, stronger than the better known
link between occupational exposure and cancer. The probability of the
association being coincidental was less than one in a thousand, said Steve
Jones, the project leader. But he urged caution in interpreting the results,
which are published online by the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Prof Jones said: "We have not been able to take account of all the other
possible causes of circulatory system disease . . . The possible biological
mechanisms that might explain a link with radiation are tentative at best,
and so the results of our analysis are not consistent with any simple causal
Michael Gillies, a Westlakes statistician, said further research would be
necessary to determine whether radiation exposure directly caused the
circulatory disease in nuclear workers or whether other factors associated,
for example, with diet, exercise, socio-economic status, shift working and
stress, might have been responsible. The study design might not have been
able to control fully for unexpected variations in such factors.
Even if the relationship between occupational radiation exposure and
cardiovascular disease is genuine, the effect on average life expectancy is
quite small. Prof Jones said that for someone who worked in the nuclear
industry during its first three decades, when permitted radiation doses were
much higher than today, it would cut the chance of living beyond the age of
70 from about 75 per cent to 73 per cent. The number of premature deaths
from cardiovascular disease caused by radiation might be four or five per
Workers at the sites have lower average mortality than the local population
as a whole. Prospect, the trade union, said the study "raised more questions
than it answered" and called for further research.
If I recall my studies correctly, there was a negative correlation between
heart, liver & kidney disease in uranium mill workers in the USA; likely
because of the physical nature of the work.
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