A short latency between radiation exposure from nuclear plants and cancer in young children.
Int J Health Serv. 2006;36(1):113-35. PMID: 16524167
Radiation and Public Health Project, Norristown, PA 19403, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous reports document a short latency of cancer onset in young children exposed to low doses of radioactivity. The standard mortality ratio (SMR) for cancer in children dying before age ten rose in the period 6-10 years after the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents in populations most exposed to fallout. SMRs near most nuclear power plants were elevated 6-10 years after startup, particularly for leukemia. Cancer incidence in children under age ten living near New York and New Jersey nuclear plants increased 4-5 years after increases in average strontium-90 in baby teeth, and declined 4-5 years after Sr-90 averages dropped. The assumption that Sr-90 and childhood cancer are correlated is best supported for a supralinear dose-response, meaning the greatest per-dose risks are at the lowest doses. Findings document that the very young are especially susceptible to adverse effects of radiation exposure, even at relatively low doses.