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Radiat Res. 2012 Mar;177(3):288-97. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

Risk of lung cancer mortality in relation to lung doses among French uranium miners: follow-up 1956-1999.

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Institut de Radioprotection et de Sureté Nucléaire (IRSN), DRPH, SRBE, LEPID, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France.


The aim of this study was to assess the risk of lung cancer death associated with cumulative lung doses from exposure to α-particle emitters, including radon gas, radon short-lived progeny, and long-lived radionuclides, and to external γ rays among French uranium miners. The French "post-55" sub-cohort included 3,377 uranium miners hired from 1956, followed up through the end of 1999, and contributing to 89,405 person-years. Lung doses were calculated with the ICRP Human Respiratory Tract Model (Publication 66) for 3,271 exposed miners. The mean "absorbed lung dose" due to α-particle radiation was 78 mGy, and that due to the contribution from other types of radiation (γ and β-particle radiation) was 56 mGy. Radon short-lived progeny accounted for 97% of the α-particle absorbed dose. Out of the 627 deaths, the cause of death was identified for 97.4%, and 66 cases were due to lung cancer. A significant excess relative risk (ERR) of lung cancer death was associated with the total absorbed lung dose (ERR/Gy = 2.94, 95% CI 0.80, 7.53) and the α-particle absorbed dose (4.48, 95% CI 1.27, 10.89). Assuming a value of 20 for the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of α particles for lung cancer induction, the ERR/Gy-Eq for the total weighted lung dose was 0.22 (95% CI: 0.06, 0.53).

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