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ESTIMATION OF THYROID RADIATION DOSES FOR THE HANFORD THYROID DISEASE STUDY: RESULTS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR STATISTICAL POWER OF THE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSES

Kopecky, Kenneth J.; Davis, Scott; Hamilton, Thomas E.; Saporito, Mark S.; Onstad, Lynn E.

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Residents of eastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, and western Idaho were exposed to 131I released into the atmosphere from operations at the Hanford Nuclear Site from 1944 through 1972, especially in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. This paper describes the estimated doses to the thyroid glands of the 3,440 evaluable participants in the Hanford Thyroid Disease Study, which investigated whether thyroid morbidity was increased in people exposed to radioactive iodine from Hanford during 1944–1957. The participants were born during 1940–1946 to mothers living in Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Adams, Okanogan, Ferry, or Stevens Counties in Washington State. Whenever possible someone with direct knowledge of the participant’s early life (preferably the participant’s mother) was interviewed about the participant’s individual dose-determining characteristics (residence history, sources and quantities of food, milk, and milk products consumed, production and processing techniques for home-grown food and milk products). Default information was used if no interview respondent was available. Thyroid doses were estimated using the computer program Calculation of Individual Doses from Environmental Radionuclides (CIDER) developed by the Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project. CIDER provided 100 sets of doses to represent uncertainty of the estimates. These sets were not generated independently for each participant, but reflected the effects of uncertainties in characteristics shared by participants. Estimated doses (medians of each participant’s 100 realizations) ranged from 0.0029 mGy to 2823 mGy, with mean and median of 174 and 97 mGy, respectively. The distribution of estimated doses provided the Hanford Thyroid Disease Study with sufficient statistical power to test for dose-response relationships between thyroid outcomes and exposure to Hanford’s 131I.

* Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

For correspondence or reprints contact: Kenneth J. Kopecky, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Avenue N, M3-C102, P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA, 98109-1024, or email at kkopecky@fhcrc.org.

(Manuscript received 7 June 2003; revised manuscript received 26 December 2003, accepted 16 March 2004)

© 2004 by the Health Physics Society