Mortality (1950-1999) and cancer incidence (1969-1999) in the cohort of Eldorado uranium workers

Radiat Res. 2010 Dec;174(6):773-85. doi: 10.1667/RR2237.1. Epub 2010 Oct 4.


This study assessed the relationship between radon decay product (RDP) exposure and mortality and cancer incidence in a cohort of 17,660 Eldorado uranium workers first employed in 1932-1980 and followed up through 1999. The analysis was based on substantially revised identifying information and dosimetry for workers from the Beaverlodge and Port Radium uranium mines and for the first time includes workers from a radium and uranium refinery and processing facility in Port Hope, Canada. Overall, male workers had lower mortality rates of all causes and all cancers and lower incidence rates of all cancers compared with the general Canadian male population, a likely healthy worker effect. Individual cancer rates were also reduced except for lung cancer mortality (SMR = 1.31, P < 0.001) and incidence (SIR = 1.23, P < 0.001). The excess relative risk per 100 WLM (ERR/100 WLM) of lung cancer mortality (N = 618, ERR/100 WLM = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.37, 0.78, P < 0.01) and incidence (N = 626, ERR/100 WLM = 0.55, 95% CI: 0.37, 0.81, P < 0.001) increased linearly with increasing RDP exposure. Adjustment for effect modification by time since exposure, exposure rate and age at risk resulted in comparable estimates of risk of lung cancer for all three uranium worksites. RDP exposures and γ-ray doses were not associated with any other cancer site or other cause of death. The risk estimates are in agreement with the results of the pooled analysis of 11 miner cohorts and more recent studies of uranium workers. The current analysis provides more precise risk estimates and compares the findings from the mortality study with the incidence study. Future follow-up of the cohort and joint analysis with other uranium miners' studies should shed more light on the effects of low RDP exposures as experienced by current workers as well as help to understand and address the health risks associated with residential radon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mining*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality
  • Radon / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Uranium / adverse effects*


  • Uranium
  • Radon