Health effects in a casual sample of immigrants to Israel from areas contaminated by the Chernobyl explosion

Environ Health Perspect. 1995 Oct;103(10):936-41. doi: 10.1289/ehp.95103936.


We analyzed questionnaire and physician examination data for 1560 new immigrants from the former USSR divided into three groups by potential exposure to Chernobyl radiation. Two groups were chosen according to soil contamination by cesium-137 at former residences, as confirmed by our findings in a 137Cs body burden study. The third group consisted of "liquidators," persons who worked at the Chernobyl site after the disaster. Liquidators had greater self-reported incidences of symptoms commonly accepted as acute effects of radiation exposure, increases in prevalence of hypertension, and more health complaints. Excesses of bronchial asthma and health complaints were reported in children from the more exposed communities. Asthma prevalence in children potentially exposed in utero appears to be increased eightfold. Older adults from more exposed areas had more hypertension as assessed by history and measurements. These findings suggest the possible association of radiation exposure with several nonmalignant effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Blood Pressure / radiation effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Power Plants*
  • Radioactive Hazard Release*
  • Thyroid Gland / radiation effects
  • Ukraine