Analysis of mortality among Canadian nuclear power industry workers after chronic low-dose exposure to ionizing radiation

Radiat Res. 2004 Jun;161(6):633-41. doi: 10.1667/rr3170.


Studies of radiation-associated risks among workers chronically exposed to low doses of radiation are important, both to estimate risks directly and to assess the adequacy of extrapolations of risk estimates from high-dose studies. This paper presents results based on a cohort of 45,468 nuclear power industry workers from the Canadian National Dose Registry monitored for more than 1 year for chronic low-dose whole-body ionizing radiation exposures sometime between 1957 and 1994 (mean duration of monitoring = 7.4 years, mean cumulative equivalent dose = 13.5 mSv). The excess relative risks for leukemia [excluding chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)] and for all solid cancers were 52.5 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.205, 291] and 2.80 (95% CI: -0.038, 7.13) per sievert, respectively, both associations having P values close to 0.05. Relative risks by dose categories increased monotonically for leukemia excluding CLL but were less consistent for all solid cancers combined. Although the point estimates are higher than those found in other studies of whole-body irradiation, the difference could well be due to chance. Further follow-up of this cohort or the combination of results from multiple worker studies will produce more stable estimates and thus complement the risk estimates from higher-dose studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / mortality*
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Power Plants / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation, Ionizing*
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Registries
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Survival Analysis