A melanoma case-control study at the Los Alamos National Laboratory

Health Phys. 1983 Sep;45(3):587-92. doi: 10.1097/00004032-198309000-00001.


We conducted a melanoma case-control study at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to investigate whether related occupational exposures or personal characteristics of employees could be identified. This study was prompted by a recent report from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory that melanoma was much more frequent than expected among employees and that persons suffering from melanoma more often worked as chemists. Our investigation did not uncover an association with plutonium body burden, cumulative external radiation exposure, or employment as a chemist or a physicist. The major finding was that cases were more educated than controls. Melanoma risk was 2.11 among college-educated employees and increased to 3.17 among those with graduate degrees (Mantel-extension linear trend probability = 0.038). This finding is consistent with the often reported increased melanoma incidence among persons of higher social class. It points to personal characteristics, particular to persons of higher educational attainment, as risk factors for melanoma at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Burden
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • New Mexico
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Plutonium / adverse effects
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Risk
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Plutonium