Modeling of Respiratory System Dysfunction Among Nuclear Workers: A Preliminary Study

Belyaeva, Z. D.; Osovets, S. V.; Scott, B. R.; Zhuntova, G. V.; Grigoryeva, E. S.
October 2008
Dose-Response;2008, Vol. 6 Issue 4, p319
Academic Journal
Numerous studies have reported on cancers among Mayak Production Association (PA) nuclear workers. Other studies have reported on serious deterministic effects of large radiation doses for the same population. This study relates to deterministic effects (respiratory system dysfunction) in Mayak workers after relatively small chronic radiation doses (alpha plus gamma). Because cigarette smoke is a confounding factor, we also account for smoking effects. Here we present a new empirical mathematical model that was introduced for simultaneous assessment of radiation and cigarette-smoking-related damage to the respiratory system. The model incorporates absolute thresholds for smoking- and radiation-induced respiratory system dysfunction. As the alpha radiation dose to the lung increased from 0 to 4.36 Gy, respiratory function indices studied decreased, although remaining in the normal range. The data were consistent with the view that alpha radiation doses to the lung above a relatively small threshold (0.15 to 0.39 Gy) cause some respiratory system dysfunction. Respiratory function indices were not found to be influenced by total-body gamma radiation doses in the range 0-3.8 Gy when delivered at low rates over years. However, significant decreases in airway conductance were found to be associated with cigarette smoking. Whether the indicated cigarette smoking and alpha radiation associated dysfunction is debilitating is unclear.


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