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Uranium Miner Health Risk Calculator - HELP

(last updated 19 Jun 2014)



This calculator determines the excess risk of contracting several kinds of cancer for a uranium miner with a known radiation exposure history, and, in case cancer has developed, the probability of causation.
The probability of causation is the probability that a contracted cancer is caused from the radiation exposure. Typically, causation is assumed (and compensation is granted) for a probability higher than 50%.
> Please note the Caveat on the calculation of the probability of causation below.

The calculator performs the calculations using the following models: Jacobi's TSE (time since exposure) model for lung cancer [Jacobi1992], oral cavity/throat cancer and leukemia [Jacobi1995], and bone cancer and liver cancer [Jacobi1997]. The Jacobi models contain several assumptions which are typical for the first ten years in the German Wismut mines (for details, see references). For lung cancer, the results of the BEIR IV model [BEIR1988] are provided for comparison.

The parameters used for the calculation can be set in the Exposure Data and Personal Exposure History tables.

See special instructions for offline use of this calculator.


Caveat on the calculation of the probability of causation:

"The first problem is that the probability of causation cannot be computed solely from the relative risk. In particular, when exposure accelerates the time of disease occurrence, the standard epidemiologic estimates of probability of causation will tend to underestimate that probability."
"The second problem is that the exposure dose at which the probability of causation exceeds 50% (the point at which exposure causation is more likely than not) may fall well below the 'doubling dose' (the dose at which the incidence of disease is doubled)." [Greenland1999]
See also: [Walsh2010a] and [Walsh2010b].


Exposure Data

The table contains the annual radiation exposure data for each of the calendar years listed. The exposure data comprises the following parameters:
Radon Exposure [MBqh/m3]
Radon Progeny Exposure [WLM]
short lived radon progeny (Po-218, Pb-214, Bi-214, Po-214)
Inhaled U-238 Activity [kBq]
natural isotope composition of uranium and presence of all decay products in secular equilibrium assumed
External Gamma exposure (in air) [mSv]
Inhaled Pb-210 Activity [kBq]
Lead-210 is a long-lived decay product of Radon-222
The table can be initialized with typical data for various miner cohorts by selecting from the pick list, or the user can enter his own data.
Only the German Wismut data set for the years 1946 - 1955 contains full data for all parameters - this is required for the calculation of cancers other than lung cancer. The other data is mostly limited to Radon Progeny Exposure and therefore allows for calculation of lung cancer only - the results for other cancer types are meaningless in this case.

The data for the German Wismut mines is from [Jacobi1995], the data for the Czech S-cohort from [Sevc1993], the data for the French cohort from [Tirmarche1993], and the data for the New Mexico cohort from [Samet1991]. Data for the early years up to the mid-1950's often are estimates only. All figures are mean values; individual doses may have been many times higher. All but the Wismut data sets were taken from graphs and are not very accurate, therefore.
The Lung cancer lifetime risk factor is used to calculate the lifetime risk of contracting lung cancer from the cumulative radon progeny exposure. ICRP 65 uses a value of 0.000283 per WLM.


Personal Exposure History

Note: all entries are calendar years (4 digits)
Year of birth
Year of first exposure
Year of last exposure
Year at risk / Year of cancer developed
Year, for which the risk is to be calculated, or, the year, in which cancer has developed.



> See also: Health Hazards for Uranium Mine and Mill Workers - Science Issues

[BEIR1988] Health Risks of Radon and other internally deposited alpha-emitters - BEIR IV, Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations, Board on Radiation Effects Research, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 1988, 601 p.
> View online

[Greenland1999] S.Greenland: Relation of Probability of Causation to Relative Risk and Doubling Dose: A Methodologic Error That Has Become a Social Problem , in: American Journal of Public Health Vol. 89, No. 8, August 1999, p. 1166-1169

[Jacobi1992] W.Jacobi, K.Henrichs, D.Barclay: Verursachungs- Wahrscheinlichkeit von Lungenkrebs durch die berufliche Strahlenexposition von Uran-Bergarbeitern der WISMUT AG, [Probability of causation for lung cancer due to the occupational radiation exposure of uranium miners of WISMUT AG], 67 pages in German, GSF-Bericht S-14/92, Neuherberg 1992.
> View summary

[Jacobi1995] W.Jacobi, P.Roth: Risiko und Verursachungs- Wahrscheinlichkeit von extrapulmonaren Krebserkrankungen durch die berufliche Strahlenexposition von Beschäftigten der ehemaligen WISMUT AG, [Risk and Probability of Causation of Extrapulmonary Cancers due to the Occupational Radiation Exposure of Workers at the previous WISMUT Uranium Mining Company], 86 pages in German, GSF-Bericht 4/95, GSF-Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit , Oberschleißheim 1995.
> View summary

[Jacobi1997] W.Jacobi, P.Roth, D.Noßke: Mögliches Risiko und Verursachungs-Wahrscheinlichkeit von Knochen- und Leberkrebs durch die berufliche Alphastrahlen-Exposition von Beschäftigten der ehemaligen WISMUT AG [Possible Risk and Probability of Causation of Bone and Liver Cancer due to the Occupational Alpha Ray Exposure of Workers at the previous WISMUT Uranium Mining Company], 57 pages in German, Forschungsbericht, GSF- Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit , Oberschleißheim, July 1997
> View summary

[Samet1991] J.M.Samet, D.R.Pathak, M.V.Morgan, et al.: Lung cancer mortality and exposure to radon progeny in a cohort of New Mexico underground uranium miners. in: Health Physics Vol. 61, No. 6, pp. 745-752, 1991

[Sevc1993] J.Sevc, L.Tomasek, E.Kunz, et al.: A survey of the Czechoslovak follow-up of lung cancer mortality in uranium miners. in: Health Physics Vol. 64, No. 4, p.355-369, 1993

[Tirmarche1993] M.Tirmarche, A.Raphalen, F.Allin, et al.: Mortality of a cohort of French uranium miners exposed to relatively low radon concentrations. in: Br.J.Cancer Vol. 67, p.1090-1097, 1993

[Walsh2010a] Walsh L, Tschense A, Schnelzer M, Dufey F, Grosche B, Kreuzer M: The Influence of Radon Exposures on Lung Cancer Mortality in German Uranium Miners, 19462003, in: Radiation Research Vol. 173, No. 1 (January 2010), p. 79-90

[Walsh2010b] Walsh L, Dufey F, Tschense A, Schnelzer M, Grosche B, Kreuzer M: Radon and the Risk of Cancer Mortality - Internal Poisson Models for the German Uranium Miners Cohort, in: Health Physics Vol. 99, No. 3 (September 2010), p. 292-300


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