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Increase In Cancer In Sweden Can Be Traced To Chernobyl

Date:
May 30, 2007
Source:
Linköping University
Summary:
The incidence of cancer in northern Sweden increased following the accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl in 1986. This was the finding of a much-debated study from Linköping University in Sweden from 2004. Was the increase in cancer caused by the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl or could it be explained by other circumstances? New research provides scientific support for the Chernobyl connection.

The nuclear power plant of Chernobyl (Ukraine). This picture was taken in 2006, 20 years after the Chernobyl disaster.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The incidence of cancer in northern Sweden increased following the accident at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl in 1986.  This was the finding of a much-debated study from Linköping University in Sweden from 2004.

Was the increase in cancer caused by the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl or could it be explained by other circumstances? New research from Linköping University provides scientific support for the Chernobyl connection.

“This issue is important because the indicated increased risk may come to influence the prevailing exposure limits for the population. Enhanced knowledge of the risks entailed by radioactive radiation is key to work for radiation safety and makes it possible to prevent diseases,” says Martin Tondel, a physician and researcher in environmental medicine who will soon be defending his doctoral dissertation Malignancies in Sweden after the Chernobyl Accident in 1986.

In two studies using different methods, Martin Tondel has shown a small but statistically significant increase in the incidence of cancer in northern Sweden, where the fallout of radioactive cesium 137 was at its most intense.

The cancer risk increased with rising fallout intensity: up to a 20-percent increase in the highest of six categories. This means that 3.8 percent of the cancer cases up to 1999 can be ascribed to the fallout. This increased risk, in turn, is 26 times higher than the latest risk estimate for the survivors of the atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whose exposure was many times higher.

The increase in Tondel’s studies came a remarkably short time after the disaster, since it is usually assumed that it takes decades for cancer to develop. The dissertation discusses the interpretation of the research findings from the perspective of the theory of science.

The conclusion is that there is scientific support for a connection between the radioactive fallout and the increase in the number of cancer cases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Linköping University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Linköping University. "Increase In Cancer In Sweden Can Be Traced To Chernobyl." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070530080956.htm>.
Linköping University. (2007, May 30). Increase In Cancer In Sweden Can Be Traced To Chernobyl. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070530080956.htm
Linköping University. "Increase In Cancer In Sweden Can Be Traced To Chernobyl." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070530080956.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

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