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Uranium mining and lung cancer among Navajo men in New Mexico and Arizona, 1969 to 1993.
Gilliland FD; Hunt WC; Pardilla M; Key CR
J Occup Environ Med 2000 Mar; 42(3):278-283
Navajo men who were underground miners have excess risk of lung cancer. To further characterize the long-term consequences of uranium mining in this high-risk population, we examined lung cancer incidence among Navajo men residing in New Mexico and Arizona from 1969 to 1993 and conducted a population-based case-control study to estimate the risk of lung cancer for Navajo uranium miners. Uranium mining contributed substantially to lung cancer among Navajo men over the 25-year period following the end of mining for the Navajo Nation. Sixty-three (67%) of the 94-incident lung cancers among Navajo men occurred in former uranium miners. The relative risk for a history of mining was 28.6 (95% confidence interval, 13.2-61.7). Smoking did not account for the strong relationship between lung cancer and uranium mining. The Navajo experience with uranium mining is a unique example of exposure in a single occupation accounting for the majority of lung cancers in an entire population.
Uranium compounds; Uranium miners; Uranium mining; Mining industry; Miners; Lung cancer; Pulmonary system disorders; Respiratory system disorders; Underground miners; Underground mining; Demographic characteristics; Sex factors; Racial factors
Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD., Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, School of Medicine, 1540 Alcazar St., CHP Suite 236, Los Angeles, CA 90033
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
University of New Mexico, Department of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division