NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
9277217 - Fernald Mortality Update
Principal Investigator (PI)
Primary Goals Addressed
Secondary Goal Addressed
Attributed to Manufacturing
This study will determine whether the previously observed excess in lung cancer deaths is still present in the Fernald Worker group, and determine whether radon, uranium dust, asbestos, or acid mists are linked to this or other adverse health outcomes. The study cohort has been expanded to include both genders and all races employed at least 30 days for a total of 6,745 workers. Quantitative and qualitative exposures to biologically significant chemicals and radionuclides at the Fernald site have been estimated. Analyses are being conducted to explore the relationship between exposure levels and specific health effects.
Project is funded by the Department of Energy.
A manuscript published in the peer-reviewed literature will summarize findings and propose further actions for characterizing worker health risks. Additional manuscripts will describe exposure-assessment methods.
The study will determine whether the previously observed excess in lung cancer deaths is still present in the Fernald worker group, and determine whether radon, uranium dust, asbestos, or acid mists are linked to this or other adverse health outcomes.
Excess lung cancer cases have been identified among workers at the Department of Energy Fernald facility; however, exposure to radon and radon progeny were not considered. NCEH has predicted risks for lung cancer in the community from radon exposure. Fernald workers have a much higher potential for radon exposure than the surrounding community. For these reasons and at the request of stakeholders, this project will examine the risk of lung cancer in Fernald workers.
This project consists of a mortality study (SMR, SRR, and regression analyses) and an exposure assessment of historical concentrations of radon and other radiological and non-radiological agents such as acid mist, uranium dust, and asbestos for the former workers at the Fernald facility. The project has expanded the cohort from 4,014 white males to 6,745 males and females of all races. Vital status has been updated from 1989 to 2004. We have conducted comprehensive exposure assessments of chemical and radiological hazards including asbestos, acid mists, radon, uranium dust, and external and internal radiation based on identified and located exposure files. We plan on conducting standardized mortality ratio (SMR) analysis to compare causespecific mortality patterns between Feed Materials Production Center (FMPC) workers and the United States population, as well as conducting standardized rate ratios (SRR) analysis and regression modeling to investigate the effects of ionizing radiation along with other hazards among FMPC workers.
In FY09, work histories were finalized, SMR results and SRR analyses were completed, the chemical exposure assessment strategy and database were developed, the uranium exposure assessment was completed, and the regression analysis began.
In FY10, additional exposure assessments were completed and regression analyses were begun. In FY11, study manuscripts will be published.
This study is being conducted in response to the Fernald Health Effects Subcommittee request for a retrospective exposure assessment and a cohort mortality update for plant workers. Exposures to radon, uranium dust, acid mists, and other chemicals at the site have not been well characterized.
This study was requested following reports by the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) predicting risks for lung cancer from radon exposures in communities neighboring Fernald.
The study will report on health outcomes in an occupational cohort with this complex set of exposures.