Settlements near the Semipalatinsk Test Site (SNTS) in northeastern Kazakhstan were exposed to radioactive fallout during 1949-1962. Thyroid disease prevalence among 2994 residents of eight villages was ascertained by ultrasound screening. Malignancy was determined by cytopathology. Individual thyroid doses from external and internal radiation sources were reconstructed from fallout deposition patterns, residential histories and diet, including childhood milk consumption. Point estimates of individual external and internal dose averaged 0.04 Gy (range 0-0.65) and 0.31 Gy (0-9.6), respectively, with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.46. Ultrasound-detected thyroid nodule prevalence was 18% and 39% among males and females, respectively. It was significantly and independently associated with both external and internal dose, the main study finding. The estimated relative biological effectiveness of internal compared to external radiation dose was 0.33, with 95% confidence bounds of 0.09-3.11. Prevalence of papillary cancer was 0.9% and was not significantly associated with radiation dose. In terms of excess relative risk per unit dose, our dose-response findings for nodule prevalence are comparable to those from populations exposed to medical X rays and to acute radiation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging