Positive associations between external radiation dose and non-cancer mortality have been found in a number of published studies, primarily of populations exposed to high-dose, high-dose-rate ionizing radiation. The goal of this study was to determine whether external radiation dose was associated with non-cancer mortality in a large pooled cohort of nuclear workers exposed to low-dose radiation accumulated at low dose rates. The cohort comprised 308,297 workers from France, United Kingdom and United States. The average cumulative equivalent dose at a tissue depth of 10 mm [Hp(10)] was 25.2 mSv. In total, 22% of the cohort were deceased by the end of follow-up, with 46,029 deaths attributed to non-cancer outcomes, including 27,848 deaths attributed to circulatory diseases. Poisson regression was used to investigate the relationship between cumulative radiation dose and non-cancer mortality rates. A statistically significant association between radiation dose and all non-cancer causes of death was observed [excess relative risk per sievert (ERR/Sv) = 0.19; 90% CI: 0.07, 0.30]. This was largely driven by the association between radiation dose and mortality due to circulatory diseases (ERR/Sv = 0.22; 90% CI: 0.08, 0.37), with slightly smaller positive, but nonsignificant, point estimates for mortality due to nonmalignant respiratory disease (ERR/Sv = 0.13; 90% CI: –0.17, 0.47) and digestive disease (ERR/Sv = 0.11; 90% CI: –0.36, 0.69). The point estimate for the association between radiation dose and deaths due to external causes of death was nonsignificantly negative (ERR = –0.12; 90% CI: <–0.60, 0.45). Within circulatory disease subtypes, associations with dose were observed for mortality due to cerebrovascular disease (ERR/Sv = 0.50; 90% CI: 0.12, 0.94) and mortality due to ischemic heart disease (ERR/Sv = 0.18; 90% CI: 0.004, 0.36). The estimates of associations between radiation dose and non-cancer mortality are generally consistent with those observed in atomic bomb survivor studies. The findings of this study could be interpreted as providing further evidence that non-cancer disease risks may be increased by external radiation exposure, particularly for ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. However, heterogeneity in the estimated ERR/Sv was observed, which warrants further investigation. Further follow-up of these cohorts, with the inclusion of internal exposure information and other potential confounders associated with lifestyle factors, may prove informative, as will further work on elucidating the biological mechanisms that might cause these non-cancer effects at low doses.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 188 • No. 3