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Thyroid absorbed dose for people at Rongelap, Utirik, and Sifo on March 1, 1954

Description: A study was undertaken to reexamine thyroid absorbed dose estimates for people accidentally exposed to fallout at Rongelap, Sifo, and Utirik Islands from the Pacific weapon test known as Operation Castle BRAVO. The study included: (1) reevaluation of radiochemical analysis, to relate results from pooled urine to intake, retention, and excretion functions; (2) analysis of neutron-irradiation studies of archival soil samples, to estimate areal activities of the iodine isotopes; (3) analysis of source term, weather data, and meteorological functions used in predicting atmospheric diffusion and fallout deposition, to estimate airborne concentrations of the iodine isotopes; and (4) reevaluation of radioactive fallout, which contaminated a Japanese fishing vessel in the vicinity of Rongelap Island on March 1, 1954, to determine fallout components. The conclusions of the acute exposure study were that the population mean thyroid absorbed doses were 21 gray (2100 rad) at Rongelap, 6.7 gray (670 rad) at Sifo, and 2.8 gray (280 rad) at Utirik. The overall thyroid cancer risk we estimated was in agreement with results published on the Japanese exposed at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. We now postulate that the major route for intake of fallout was by direct ingestion of food prepared and consumed outdoors. 66 refs., 13 figs., 25 tabs.
Date: March 1, 1985
Creator: Lessard, E.T.; Miltenberger, R.P.; Conrad, R.A.; Musoline, S.V.; Naidu, J.R.; Moorthy, A. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Thyroid cancer in the Marshallese: relative risk of short-lived internal emitters and external radiation exposure

Description: In a study of the comparative effects of internal versus external irradiation of the thyroid in young people, we determined that the dose from internal irradiation of the thyroid with short-lived internal emitters produced several times less thyroid cancer than did the same dose of radiation given externally. We determined this finding for a group of 85 Marshall Islands children, who were less than 10 years of age at the time of exposure and who were accidentially exposed to internal and external thyroid radiation at an average level of 1400 rad. The external risk coefficient ranged between 2.5 and 4.9 cancers per million person-rad-years at risk, and thus, from our computations, the internal risk coefficient for the Marshallese children was estimated to range between 1.0 and 1.4 cancers per million person-rad-years at risk. In contrast, for individual more than 10 years of age at the time of exposure, the dose from internal irradiation of the thyroid with short-lived internal emitters produced several times more thyroid cancer than did the same dose of radiation given externally. The external risk coefficients for the older age groups were reported in the literature to be in the range of 1.0 to 3.3 cancers per million person-rad-years-at risk. We computed internal risk coefficients of 3.3 to 8.1 cancers per million person-rad-years at risk for adolescent and adult groups. This higher sensitivity to cancer induction in the exposed adolescents and adults, is different from that seen in other exposed groups. 14 refs., 8 tabs.
Date: January 1, 1985
Creator: Lessard, E.T.; Brill, A.B. & Adams, W.H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Late biological effects from internal and external exposure

Description: Information on late biological effects of radiation was obtained from the long-term medical followup of a small population of Marshallese accidentally exposed to radioactive fallout from a thermonuclear test in 1954. Endocrine data are compatible with a sequence of nonstochastic radiation effects. The ingestion of radioisotopes of iodine produced clinical thyroid hypofunction in children, biochemical evidence of thyroid dysfunction in some adults, thyroid adenomatous module formation, and, as a possible indirect effect of thyroid damage, at least two cases of pituitary adenoma. In contrast, the only evidence of a stochastic effect has been a real increase in thyroid cancers among the more highly exposed people of Rongelap, none of whom have evidence of residual disease. While three nonthyroidal cancers which are known to be inducible in humans by external irradiation have been documented in the exposed population, three similar cancers have occurred in an unexposed comparison population of Marshallese. Nonstochastic effects of radiation exposure may be common but subtle. In the Marshallese experience the morbidity of delayed nonstochastic effects far exceeds that of the stochastic. 20 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab.
Date: January 1, 1985
Creator: Adams, W.H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department