Misuse of data from a NIOSH study of low level radiation risks is reviewed. Development of the NIOSH study of mortality at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard related to radiation exposure is described. The function of a group of scientists established to consult with NIOSH researchers on the conduct of the study is considered. Operation of the research group, including identification of the cohort of workers and determination of exposure levels and observed and expected mortality, are described. No evidence was found of unusually high numbers of leukemia deaths or deaths from malignant neoplasms. Included in the material sent were matrices of observed and expected deaths by 5 years latency and duration of employment categories, and by radiation dose categories for 83 causes of death. Recombination of the data by various latency periods, duration periods, and radiation exposure levels is described. The claim that excess mortality from respiratory cancer exists at the shipyard for persons who attained a radiation dose of 1 rem and 15 years of latency is discussed.
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