Significance of radiation exposure from work-related chest X-rays for epidemiological studies of radiation workers

Authors

  • J. Cardarelli PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, Robert A Taft Laboratories (R-44), Health-Related Energy Research Branch, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, Robert A Taft Laboratories (R-11), Hazard Evaluation, Technical assistance Branch 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226-1998.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • H. Spitz PhD,

    1. National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, Robert A Taft Laboratories (R-44), Health-Related Energy Research Branch, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio
    2. Department of Mechanical, Industrial, and Nuclear Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Search for more papers by this author
  • C. Rice PhD,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, University of,Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Search for more papers by this author
  • R. Buncher ScD,

    1. Department of Environmental Health, University of,Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Search for more papers by this author
  • H. Elson PhD,

    1. Barrett Cancer Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Search for more papers by this author
  • P. Succop PhD

    1. Department of Environmental Health, University of,Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Search for more papers by this author

  • The authors have no financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript. The funding for this reasearch was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health-Related Energy Research Branch.

    The study proposal was approved through the expedited process as specified under 45 CFR 46.100. The study does not involve contact with subjects (i.e., research using existing records) and involved only data analysis and/or report writing. Protocol #HSRB 99-DSHEFS-04XP “Inclusion of Medically Related X-ray Doses in Radiation Epidemiology” has been granted approval through May 26, 2002.

  • This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.

Abstract

Background

Previous epidemiologic studies of workers at nuclear weapons facilities have not included X-ray exposures as part of the occupational radiation exposure. The research objective was to determine the contribution of work-related chest X-ray (WRX) exposure relative to the cumulative occupational radiation exposure.

Methods

Cases and controls were identified from a cohort of workers whose employment began as early as 1943. Medical records for 297 subjects were used to determine the bone marrow dose from their X-ray examinations. Individual dose data, however, were only available for 45 workers. Bone marrow dose estimates were calculated by converting the entrance-skin-exposure (from X-ray procedures) and occupational exposure (from monitoring data) to dose.

Results

Stereoscopic photofluorography delivered a bone marrow dose nearly 100 times that delivered by today's chest X-ray technique. Photofluorography was the predominant radiation source during the 1940s and 1950s. The cumulative WRX dose was, on average, 50 times their occupational doses. No correlation between occupational and WRX dose was found, but may be due to the small study size and incomplete dose data.

Conclusions

These findings illustrate the importance of including WRX doses in retrospective epidemiological studies of radiation workers, especially if photofluorographic chest X-rays were performed and occupational exposure to ionizing radiation is low. Am. J. Ind. Med. 42:490–501, 2002. Published 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary