This is different than what was reported in
the UNSCEAR 2000 Report.
Which do you believe is correct?
What did Science Magazine write about the UNSCEAR
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, January 02, 2003 11:12
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] Chernobyl: An
Posted in Science Magazine Volume 299, Number 5603, Issue of 3
Jan 2003, p.
44 and at:
An Overlooked Aspect?
The dramatic rise in the incidence of thyroid
cancer in those exposed as
children to fallout from the Chernobyl accident
(1-3) has led to other
possible health consequences being largely ignored.
Recent data highlight
the uncertainty in whole-body dose assessment, raise
the possibility that
organs other than the thyroid may have received
significant doses, and
suggest that a wide range of possible health effects
urgently need to be
For example, on the basis of recent
reports (4, 5), the average effective
dose of radiation to adults evacuated
from the 30-km zone in Ukraine can be
estimated at about 0.045 Sv (6). This
is in contrast to an estimated average
whole-body dose of 0.4 Gy
(equivalent to an effective dose of 0.4 Sv), based
on chromosome aberration
counts in children evacuated from the Belarussian
exclusion zone (7). This
study represents the average dose to 60 individuals
from six settlements;
the technique, but not the original observations, was
studies quoted differ in age, country, and methodology and,
as for any
reconstructed dosimetry, confidence limits are wide. However,
together with a number of other studies of evacuees and others
to the exclusion zone (8-10) suggests that this population
whole-body doses in the range of 0.1 to 0.5 Gy.
doses can, of course, conceal wide variations in
estimates suggesting an average effective dose for
Ukrainian evacuees of
0.045 Sv also show that the dose in some settlements
ranged up to nearly
0.5 Sv. There were about 25,000 evacuees from the
Belarussian zone (3), and
if the average whole-body dose was indeed 0.4 Gy
(7), some could have
received whole-body doses well in excess of 1 Gy.
Radiation to the
thyroid from isotopes of iodine made by far the greatest
the effective dose (4, 5). If the whole-body dose estimates
(7) based on
chromosome spreads are correct, the thyroid doses in many
easily have exceeded the threshold for deterministic effects,
in those exposed as young children. A survey of evacuees for
should be a high priority. This would bring needed medical
this group and further validate the uncertain estimates of
However, tissue doses to other organs are also potentially
important in this
group. From one of the recent studies (4), it can be
deduced that in some
Ukrainian settlements, average tissue doses to the
lung were as high as 0.6
Gy in adults. Average doses to infants could be
considerably higher. These
doses largely derive from inhalation of isotopes
of barium, ruthenium, and
cerium, which occur as insoluble oxides and
together formed about 35% of the
inhaled contribution to the effective dose
(4). Organs adjacent to the lung,
such as breast and heart, would have
received radiation from isotopes
retained in the lung; breast epithelium
would also have received some
radiation from isotopes of iodine.
is therefore important for the international community to initiate
provide long-term support for collaborative studies of all
consequences of the Chernobyl accident. These recent studies
organs other than thyroid could have received doses comparable
to those of
the atomic bomb survivors, who showed significant increases in
a wide range
of cancers and nonmalignant diseases. The UN (11) recently
creation of an independent "Chernobyl Research Board"; this
board could take
the lead in initiating studies to examine the type of
issue raised here and
provide assistance or reassurance based on
Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe,
Görresstrasse 15, D-53113, Bonn,
Strangeways Research Laboratory,
*The views expressed are those of the
author and should not necessarily be
taken to be those of the
References and Notes
V. S. Kazakov, E. P. Demidchik, L.
N. Astakhova, Nature 359, 21 (1992).
K. Baverstock et al., Nature 359, 21
UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation,
Effects of Ionising Radiation (United Nations, New York, 2000),
K. Mück et al., Health Phys. 82, 157 (2002).
Pröhl et al., Health Phys. 82, 173 (2002).
Effective dose (unit = Sv) is
derived from the absorbed tissue or whole-body
dose in Gy by multiplying by
a tissue-weighting factor to reflect the
overall risk to health of
radiation absorbed by that tissue. The weighting
factors recommended by the
International Commission on Radiological
Protection include the following:
whole body, 1.0; thyroid, 0.05; and lung,
bone marrow, stomach, and colon,
0.12. The value of 0.045 Sv is derived from
the estimates given for
ingestion (5) of 0.005 Sv, inhalation (4) of 0.025
Sv, and 0.015 Sv for
external exposure (12).
L. S. Mikhalevitch, D. C. Lloyd, A. A. Edwards, G.
A. Perepetskaya, N. A.
Kartel, Radiat. Prot. Dosim. 87, 109 (2000).
A. Maznik et al., Radiat. Prot. Dosim. 74, 5 (1997).
F. Darroudi, A. T.
Natarajan, in The Radiological Consequences of the
(European Commission, Minsk, Belarus, 1996), pp.
et al., in Proceedings of 8th IRPA Congress (International
Protection Association, Montreal, Canada, 1992), pp. 801-804.
Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident: A Strategy for
(United Nations, New York, 2002) (available at
I. A. Likhtarev, V. V. Chumack, V. S. Repin, Health Phys. 66, 643 (1994).