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NIOSH Program Portfolio

 

Manufacturing

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

927ZAZQ - Evaluating Occupational Ionizing Radiation Exposure Standards

Start Date: 10/1/2007
End Date: 9/30/2012

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Robert Daniels
Phone: 513-458-7178
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DSHEFS
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goals Addressed
6.0 , 6.0

Secondary Goal Addressed
None


Attributed to Manufacturing
50%

Project Description

Short Summary

The purpose of this project is to generate refined leukemia risk estimates and risk assessment results to serve as the basis for evaluating the adequacy of occupational exposure for ionizing radiation standards.

This project addresses NORA Authoritative recommendations cross-sector goals and potentially affects workers in the manufacturing, mining, services, and transportation sectors.

Risk assessment results will be used to evaluate current occupational radiation exposure standards and will provide data that can be used to recommend changes to these standards, if warranted. Outputs will include kickoff and findings stakeholder meetings, publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, presentations at scientific conferences, and a one-page lay-language project summary. Project results may also be used to improve predictions of causation and risk models for existing worker compensation programs.



Description

The long-term goal of the project is to ensure that the cancer risk associated with occupational exposure to radiation is managed using standards based on health effects observed from workplace exposure conditions. The overall objective is to assess the adequacy of current occupational radiation exposure limits using the most precise and relevant estimates of cancer risk from epidemiologic studies. This objective will be achieved through development of improved, occupationally-based quantitative risk estimates for leukemia radiogenicity. The project will improve leukemia risk estimates by using a large base cohort and adjusting for benzene exposure for most study subjects. These estimates will be used in conjunction with appropriate occupationally-based risk estimates for other radiogenic cancers derived from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 15-country study of nuclear workers to assess the adequacy of occupational exposure standards. The overall objective is critical to 1) establishing occupational ionizing radiation exposure standards that adequately protect workers and 2) facilitating appropriate decisions for workers who apply for compensation under existing Federal programs.

The current project has the following components:

1. Conduct a nested case-control study of leukemia mortality in a pooled cohort of U.S. nuclear-industry workers. The cohort is comprised of workers employed at least 30 days at or more, on or after January 1, 1951, in at least one the following facilities: Hanford, Savannah River Site, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS), and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). FY2011

2. Develop a quantitative risk assessment for leukemia radiogenicity. FY2011

3. Assess the overall risk of radiogenic cancer in radiation workers by combining the new leukemia risk estimates with occupationally based non-leukemia cancer risk estimates derived from the IARC 15-country study of nuclear workers. FY2012

4. Evaluate the adequacy of current occupational radiation exposure limits based on the risk assessment results. FY2012



Mission Relevance

According to estimates by the National Council for Radiation Protection, approximately 1.5 million United States workers across numerous occupational sectors are occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation each year. Affected sectors include manufacturing, health care, transportation, and services. Financial costs to these sectors from worker illnesses associated with occupational exposures include sick leave and disability pay, loss of trained personnel to disability or death, and worker compensation awarded under federally mandated programs for those deemed likely to have developed malignancies as a result of their occupational radiation exposures.

NORA 2008 Authoritative Recommendation Proposal.

Refined leukemia risk estimates and risk assessment results will be used to evaluate current occupational radiation exposure standards and will provide data that can be used to recommend changes to these standards, if warranted. Project results may also be used to improve predictions of causation and risk models for existing worker compensation programs.



Page last updated: June 3, 2011
Page last reviewed: May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director

 

NIOSH Program:

Manufacturing