SEATTLE, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- U.S.-led researchers said adults who grew up near the Chernobyl nuclear site have higher rates of thyroid cancer in proportion to radiation they received.
In April 1986, a chemical explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant released nearly 520 dangerous radionuclides into the atmosphere, contaminating areas of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Thirty people were killed and an estimated 5 million people exposed to radiation.
Since then, say U.S. and Russian researchers led by Scott Davis at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the incidence of childhood thyroid cancer has increased markedly in the area.
Using a local cancer registry, the scientists located 26 adults with thyroid cancer who lived near Chernobyl and were under the age of 20 when the accident happened. Using computer models and interviews, they estimated the subjects' radiation exposure and then compared them to 52 healthy people.
The incidence of thyroid cancer in those with the highest radiation exposure was 45 times higher than those with the lowest exposure.