Objectives Understanding the effect of chronic low dose radiation exposure is crucial for radiation protection. This study analyses mortality of workers monitored for external radiation exposure while employed at three major French nuclear companies.
Method The cohort includes all workers employed at least one year by CEA, AREVA NC or EDF between 1950 and 1994, monitored for radiation exposure and alive on 1 January 1968. The mortality follow-up was to 2004. Vital status and causes of death were obtained from national registries. Standardised mortality ratios were assessed using national rates as the reference.
Results A total of 59 004 workers were followed-up for an average of 25 years. Mean age at end of follow-up was 56 years. Less than 1% of workers were lost to follow-up. 6310 deaths occurred between 1968 and 2004 including 2547 cancer deaths. A strong healthy worker effect was observed (all-cause SMR = 0.61, 95%-CI: 0.60–0.63). Significant excess mortality was observed for pleura cancer (SMR= 1.71, 95%-CI: 1.24–2.30) and for melanoma (SMR= 1.43, 95%-CI: 1.04–1.92), with no significant trend in SMRs for these outcomes across categories of cumulative radiation exposure.
Conclusions This analysis of French nuclear workers confirms a healthy worker effect but also an excess risk of death from pleura cancer and melanoma. This cohort study is the most informative ever conducted in France among nuclear workers.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.