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Mund Kiefer Gesichtschir. 1999 Jul;3(4):195-9.

[Facial cleft birth rate in former East Germany before and after the reactor accident in Chernobyl].

[Article in German]

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Klinik und Poliklinik für Mund-, Kiefer- und Plastische Gesichtschirurgie, Universität Leipzig.


Cleft lip palates (CLP) are caused by a variety of factors. Ionizing radiation is only one of these factors. The meltdown of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl on April 26, 1986, and the subsequent radioactive fallout did not cause any acute radiation sickness in Germany. Nevertheless, in West Berlin a significant increase of trisomy-21 cases was reported in births 9 months after the Chernobyl reactor accident. In our study we analyzed the influence of the radioactive fallout after the Chernobyl disaster on the rate and regional distribution of CLP newborns in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). In contrast to the Federal Republic of Germany an ongoing malformation register for CLP newborns had existed in the former GDR since 4 July 1967. Environmental data were collected from national and international environmental authorities and atomic energy agencies. Population statistics were taken from the statistical year-book of the former GDR. During a 10-year period from 1980 to 1989, the average number of CLP newborns in the GDR was 1.88 per 1,000 live births. A significant prevalence increase was recorded in 1983, 1987 und 1988. In comparison to the mean rate in the period from 1980 until 1986, 1987 demonstrated an increase of 9.4%. Regional prevalence increases were seen in the three northern districts of Schwerin, Rostock and Neubrandenburg, where the radioactivity measurements in general showed higher levels of the radionuclides caesium-137 und strontium-90 than in other districts. Owing to the comprehensive malformation register for CLP patients in the GDR, this is the first study for Germany, analyzing the CLP rate before and after the fallout in Chernobyl. The results support the allegation of the influence of radiation-induced increase of CLP newborns after the Chernobyl reactor accident.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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