A recently published study of 3,000 uranium processing workers in Port Hope, Canada, found their overall incidence of cancer was actually lower than that of the Canadian population at large.The study involved men and women first employed between 1932 and 1980 in processing facilities that expose workers to radium, uranium ore dust and gamma-ray radiation. Researchers tracked their mortality and cancer incidence over 49- and 30-year periods, respectively, ending in 1999.The study's abstract stated that, " Overall, workers had lower mortality and cancer incidence compared with the general Canadian population. ... In one of the largest cohort studies of workers exposed to radium, uranium and gamma-ray doses, no significant radiation-associated risks were observed for any cancer site or cause of death."The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, that country's equivalent of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ordered the study by Lydia B. Zablotska of the University of California, San Francisco, Rachel S. D. Lane of the CNSC, and Stanley E. Frost of Frost & Frost Consultants. It was published Feb. 27 in BMJ (British Medical Journal) Open.According to its website, Cameco currently employs about 400 people at its Port Hope uranium conversion facility, the only such plant in Canada. It produces uranium hexafluoride and is the only supplier of uranium dioxide for Candu heavy water reactors.
this is probably because these workers take better care of themselves - more frequent checkups, more health monitoring, than the general public.
I agree, anonymous. As certain as I am that future generations will conclude that our overly conservative models of radation effects actually harm more than hurt people, these kinds of studies can usually be attributed to the "healthy worker" syndrome. Take any group of workers that are more highly-educated, that are already screened for things like abuse of drugs and alcohol, and have access and time to regular monitoring than the general population are probably going to live longer healthier lives. However, while this study wouldn't be enough to convince more people of hormesis, collections of these studies may serve to show that employment in these fields certainly don't harm health.
Similar studies of shipyard workers with uniform health care show that the nuclear yard workers have less cancer than the non-nuclear yard workers. It is NOT a "healthy worker" phenomenon. External radiation with dosage rates below about 10uSv/hr for men show up as beneficial in study after study.
The "no dose is safe" statement is a lie.
KitemanSA, I'm all for efforts to first prove the linear-no-threshold hypothesis not only wrong but harmful and then to prove hormesis. Can you point us to some of the studies you mean?