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Environ Health Prev Med. 2008 Sep;13(5):264-70. doi: 10.1007/s12199-008-0039-8. Epub 2008 Jul 5.

Hiroshima survivors exposed to very low doses of A-bomb primary radiation showed a high risk for cancers.

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Department of Health and Nutrition, Faculty of Psychological and Physical Science, Aichi Gakuin University, Nisshin, Japan.



The aim of this study was to compare the risk for cancers of A-bomb survivors in the ongoing life span study (LSS) with unexposed groups consisting of the entire populations of Hiroshima prefecture and neighboring Okayama prefecture.


The subjects consisted of the Hiroshima group reported in LSS report 12 (LSS-H group) and a control group (the entire populations of Hiroshima and Okayama-HPCG and OPCG, respectively). We estimated the expected number of deaths due to all causes and to cancers of various causes among the exposed survivors of the Hiroshima bombing in the LSS report 12 who died in the follow-up interval at ages similar to those of people in Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures who were aged 0-34 years at the time of the bombing in 1945. We compared the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of the LSS-H group to that of the HPCG and OPCG (SMR-H and SMR-O, respectively).


Even at low and very low dose categories, the SMR-H and SMR-O were significantly high for all deaths, all cancers, solid cancers, and liver cancers in male subjects, and for uterus and liver cancers in female subjects, respectively. The results show that, if the dose estimations of the dosimetry system 1986 (DS86) are correct, there are significantly increased risks of cancer among even survivors exposed to the very low dose level.


The dose assumptions of DS86 have been criticized for underestimating doses in areas distant from the hypocenter. The contribution of residual radiation, ignored in LSS, and that of neutrons, underestimated by DS86, is suggested to be fairly high.

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