Descriptive study of deaths from cancer associated with residential proximity to the site of underground nuclear detonations

Arch Environ Health. 1998 Mar-Apr;53(2):109-13. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1998.10545971.


During the 1960s, two nuclear detonations were exploded in an underground salt dome in Lamar County, Mississippi. Citizens in this rural area expressed concern about excess cancer among the residents as a result of exposure to tritium. Researchers initiated an epidemiologic investigation in response to these concerns. Investigators identified 2251 deaths, of which 562 (25.7%) were cancer related. Observed cancer rates for the area of Mississippi were no different than those expected for the state as a whole. Investigators found no association between cancer mortality and distance from the center of detonation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death*
  • Child
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Mississippi / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Nuclear Warfare*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Rural Health
  • Survival Rate
  • Tritium / adverse effects*
  • Weather


  • Tritium