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Comparison of Health and Safety Executive and Cumbrian birth cohort studies of risk of leukaemia/non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in relation to paternal preconceptional irradiation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Heather Dickinson, Professor Louise Parker


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In 1993, a case-control study by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) assessed the risk of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (LNHL) among children of fathers employed at the Sellafield nuclear installation in relation to paternal preconceptional irradiation (PPI). It concluded that the statistical association between risk of LNHL and PPI was confined to children born in the village of Seascale, where the dose-response was extremely high and very significant. In contrast, in 2002, a Cumbrian birth cohort study, investigating largely the same cases, concluded that this statistical association was not significantly different among children born inside and outside Seascale and estimated the dose-response inside Seascale to be much lower. This review makes a detailed comparison of the two studies, considering their design, data and analyses. The differences between their findings are due to: (i) differences in the distribution of offspring-years which are differential with respect to dose category and Seascale birth status, (ii) a non-Seascale high-dose case included in the Cumbrian but not the HSE study, (iii) differences between analyses using categorical and continuous PPI dose and (iv) the presence of Seascale controls with PPI over 200 mSv in the Cumbrian but not the HSE study.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dickinson HO, Hodgson JT, Parker L

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Radiological Protection

Year: 2003

Volume: 23

Issue: 4

Pages: 385-403

ISSN (print): 0952-4746

ISSN (electronic): 1361-6498


DOI: 10.1088/0952-4746/23/4/003

PubMed id: 14750687