News from CREAL
More precise estimates of cancer risks associated with prolonged, low level exposure to ionising radiation among nuclear industry workers are published by The BMJ today. The results suggest a linear increase in the relative rate of cancer with increasing radiation exposure and strengthen the scientific basis for current radiation protection standards.
Ionising radiation is an established cause of cancer, but information on radiation risk has come mainly from studies of people exposed to acute, high doses of ionising radiation, such as Japanese atomic bomb survivors.
Research into associations between exposure to moderate or low dose radiation and risk of cancer began in the 1950s but estimates remain uncertain.
So an international team of researchers, including Elisabeth Cardis, head of radiation program of the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), an ISGlobal Allied center, set out to investigate whether exposure to prolonged low doses of ionising radiation are associated with an increased risk of cancer.
The study involved 308,297 nuclear industry workers from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The workers, most of whom were men, were monitored for external radiation exposure, and were followed-up for an average of 27 years.
David B Richardson, et al. Risk of cancer from occupational exposure to ionising radiation: retrospective cohort study of workers in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States (INWORKS). BMJ 2015; 351:h5359