Parents Nuclear Industry Job not Linked to Child Cancer

Posted by Lloyd on November 11, 2011

There appears to be no increased risk for cancer among children born to nuclear industry workers, researchers report. The findings are published in the May 29th issue of the British Medical Journal.

Abnormally high rates of leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have been observed among children living in the vicinity of two British nuclear plants. This has led some experts to speculate that the children of workers exposed to nuclear radiation might be at increased risk for cancer.

To investigate this possibility, Doctor of the University of Leeds, UK, and colleagues tracked 25-year rates of cancer in close to 50,000 children born to British nuclear workers.

They found that “the incidence of cancer and leukemia among children of nuclear industry employees is similar to that in the general population.”

The number of actual cancer cases detected in the study remains too small to completely disprove links between worker preconception radiation exposure and later cancer in offspring, according to the authors. But they believe that only rarely are workers exposed to high doses of nuclear radiation around the time that they conceive a child, and even if such doses could cause leukemias in offspring, “the number of leukemias involved would be small.”

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