Cancer near the Three Mile Island nuclear plant
|Author||Hatch, J.Beyea, J.Nieves, M.Susser|
|Classification||3.01.8.11/27 (UNITED STATES - SITES - HARRISBURG (TMI))|
From the publication:
August 31, 1990 CANCER NEAR 1HB TIIREE MILE ISlAND NUCLEAR PLANT: Radiation Emissions Maureen C. Hatch, Jan Beyea, Jeri Nieves and Mervyn Susser Columbia University School of Public Health and National Audubon Society New York, New York Summary based on a paper by the same title in the September 1990 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology (vo1132, No. 3, pp 397-412). Introduction In the study summarized here, we tested the hypothesis that the risk of certain cancers might have been raised by exposure to airborne radiation from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, which had a widely publicized reactor accident early on the morning of March 28, 1979. Monitoring equipment was limited but, based on available measurements, dosimetry experts stated that the average exposure to individuals living near Three Mile Island was in the range of 0.1 • 0.2S mSv (that is, 0.01 - O.02S rem). According to these estimates, exposure from accident releases was a fraction of the average yearly exposure from natural background radiation (about 0.8 • 1 mSv, or 0.08 - 0.1 rem). Official reports predicted that among those within SO miles of the Three Mile Island facility, at most one cancer death would occur as a result of the accident. Nonetheless, when a survey by area residents found a cluster of cancer deaths, there was concern in the commmunity that accident releases had not been correctly estimated. At the request of the Three Mi1e Island Public Health Fund, we agreed to investigate the situation further, by specifically testing whether the geographic patterns of cancer occurrence and airborne radiation emissions from the plant could be related. In addition to accident releases, we considered routine emissions from TMI during normal operations, since the plant operated for some years prior to the accident. Outdoor background gamma radiation was considered as well, using data available from a national program that monitors background levels around nuclear facilities.