Presented at the Pinnacle Health Medical Education Day, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., May 4, 2012.
Incidence of thyroid cancer surrounding three mile island nuclear facility: The 30-year follow-up
Article first published online: 31 JAN 2013
© 2013 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.
Volume 123, Issue 8, pages 2064–2071, August 2013
How to Cite
Levin, R. J., De Simone, N. F., Slotkin, J. F. and Henson, B. L. (2013), Incidence of thyroid cancer surrounding three mile island nuclear facility: The 30-year follow-up. The Laryngoscope, 123: 2064–2071. doi: 10.1002/lary.23953
These data were provided by the Bureau of Health Statistics and Research, Pennsylvania Department of Health. The Department specifically disclaims responsibility for any analysis, interpretations, or conclusions.
The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.
- Issue published online: 19 JUL 2013
- Article first published online: 31 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 29 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 27 JUN 2012
- Thyroid cancer;
- Three Mile Island;
- nuclear accident;
- 131I exposure
Original data reported a potential increased incidence of thyroid cancer surrounding the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear facility. A causal link to the accident, however, was indeterminate. Our objective was to determine if data 30 years later will change original conclusions, explore thyroid cancer incidence rates near nuclear power plants, and better understand effects of chronic low level radiation.
Retrospective cross-sectional study.
Retrospective data for specific Pennsylvania counties were provided by the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry Dataset for thyroid cancer using the Epidemiological Query and Mapping System search engine. Our study examines thyroid cancer incidence from 1985 through 2009 analyzed by year, county, and age.
Thirty years after the TMI accident, an increased incidence of thyroid cancer is seen in counties south of TMI and in high-risk age groups. The average incidence rates from 1990 through 2009 were greater than expected in York, Lancaster, Adams, and Chester Counties.
Thyroid cancer incidence since the TMI accident was greater than expected in the counties analyzed when compared to local and national population growth. This supports a link to chronic low level radiation exposure and thyroid cancer development. Despite these findings, a direct correlation to the accident remains uncertain as incidence rates may coincide with other factors, and original data were limited.
Level of Evidence
2b Laryngoscope, 123:2064–2071, 2013