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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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23/06/2015

Research: First results of the epidemiological study “INWORKS” on the risk of leukemia among workers in the nuclear industry

 

INWORKS is an epidemiological study of mortality among workers in the nuclear industry coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC www.iarc.fr) and involving IRSN, NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh) for the United States, the PHE-CRCE (Public Health England's Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england) for the United Kingdom, the University of North Carolina (UNC http://www.unc.edu/) and the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL, www.creal.cat/en_index.html).

 

The study combines cohorts of French, American and British workers in the nuclear industry (fuel preparation, research, power generation, reprocessing of spent fuel) and monitored for external radiation exposure by wearing individual dosimeters. The population studied in INWORKS includes more than 300,000 workers, male and female employees from the mid-1940s. The French cohort of more than 59,000 individuals included in INWORKS brings together workers of AREVA NC, the CEA and EDF.

INWORKS aims to verify the validity of the assumptions underlying the current system of radiation protection of workers which is based on an extrapolation of knowledge of radiation-induced risks derived from the epidemiological monitoring of survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This is the largest epidemiological study ever conducted to quantify the health risks potentially associated with chronic exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation.

The first results of INWORKS reinforce the evidence of the existence of a relationship between leukemia risk and exposure to ionizing radiation. In particular, they show that this relationship is observed for chronic exposure to low doses of radiation, as are occupational exposures, thus reinforcing one of the foundations of the current system of radiological protection.

 

Download the information note on the "Publication of the first results of the epidemiological study INWORKS on the risk of leukemia and lymphoma in the nuclear industry workers chronically exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation" (pdf format)

Learn more about this publication in our Research section.

 

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