Background/aim The town of Mailuu-Suu in Jalalabad Province was, during the time of the USSR, a uranium ore mining and processing town consisting of 23 uranium tailing pits and 13 dumps. The objective was to study cancer rates and death cases within three identified zones of contamination in the town of Mailuu-Suu.
Methods Researcher’s fieldwork and archival data from the Mailuu-Suu hospital were used. An Eberline (FH40 F2)gamma radiation radiometer and dosimeter was used to measure the power of absorbed doses of a gamma radiation.
Radiometric measurements were carried out in the houses and in the yards (if a private house, then on the entire area of the farm). A total number of 89 measurements were taken at various areas or zones of the city.
Results In 10 years (2006–2015) in the town of Mailuu-Suu 197 people was dying because of cancer and 235 new cases of cancer disease were known.
Zone 1 – Sary-Bee. Background gamma radiation was recorded within 40 mR/h – 640 mR/h in this zone. Total new cases of cancer disease was 22 with attributable 23 deaths.
Zone 2 is located in the centre of the town of Mailuu-Suu. Background gamma radiation was recorded within 40 mR/h – 145 mR/h in this zone. Strong contrations of Radon were found in the air. Total new cases of cancer were 193 with 163 attributable deaths.
Zone 3 – Kok-Tash is located in the lower part of the town and downstream of the tailing pits, dumps Total new cases of cancer were 20 with 11 attributable deaths.
Conclusion The greatest number of cancer patients identified in this study were located in Zone 2 or the central part of the town. A primary cause of the high cancer rates found here are attributable to the high concentrations of radon in the air. Lung, stomach and breast cancer were found to be the most common types of cancer in the town of Mailuu-Suu.
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