CHAPTER THREE: CONDUCTING HEALTH STUDIES
The study used birth records and fetal and infant death records from 1940
through 1952 for an eight-county area surrounding the Hanford facility. The
Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction project provided iodine-131 dose
estimates for the period 1945 through 1952. The analysis included 72,154
births, 1,957 infant deaths, and 1,045 fetal deaths that occurred during the 13-
year study period.
The study findings suggested that living in an area with relatively high
estimated iodine-131 exposure in 1945, the year of the largest iodine-131
releases, may have had an effect on the fetus or the mother that resulted in
preterm birth. High estimated iodine-131 exposure in the latter part of
pregnancy was also associated with preterm birth and was somewhat
associated with infant mortality. Additionally, the "high exposure area" had a
lower infant mortality rate than did the "low exposure area" for nearly every
year from 1940 through 1952, except for 1945 and 1946, the period when
exposures were highest. Examination of causes of death did not reveal many
differences for infant or fetal deaths by exposure groups in 1945.
Overall, it appears that iodine-131 exposure may be associated with
preterm birth; however, there is no clear explanation for the finding. The
modest increase in infant mortality in the high exposure group supports
findings of other studies. Further research on more contemporary populations
may be warranted. Assessment of the effects of iodine-131 exposure on other
birth outcomes, such as birth weight, would also be useful.
Study finds little consistency across study areas
Cancer Incidence in Populations Living Near Radiologically
Contaminated Superfund Sites in New Jersey. The relationship between
cancer incidence and residence near radiologically contaminated hazardous
waste sites in New Jersey was examined. Cancer incidence data from 1979
through 1991 were collected for six towns contaminated by three Superfund
the U.S. Radium site in Orange;
the Montclair/West Orange Radium Site located in Montclair, West
Orange, and Glen Ridge; and
the Welsbach and General Gas Mantle Contamination Sites located in
Camden City and Gloucester City.
The objective was to evaluate whether the population residing closest to
the contaminated areas had elevated incidence of cancer. Cancer data from the
New Jersey State Cancer Registry, a population-based cancer incidence registry,
were used for the study. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated
for all cancers combined and eleven site-specific cancers. Males and females
were evaluated separately, and all races were combined in the analyses.
Expected numbers were calculated using average state incidence rates and U.S.
census data to estimate the population.