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publicado em 18/03/2011 às 03h00:00
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Risk of thyroid cancer remains high 25 years after Chernobyl accident

Danger for adolescents who drank milk or ate milk products contaminated after the blast has not suffered declining

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Almost 25 years after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine, children and adolescents who drank contaminated milk or eat cheese affected in the days and weeks that followed the explosion was still suffering with an increased risk of thyroid cancer, according to a study released by the National Cancer Institute, USA.

The study confirms earlier research on the risks that an isotope of radioactive iodine, I-131, which can accumulate in the thyroid gland and cause cancer later.

The I-131, potassium iodide, is often given as a supplement to prevent the accumulation of radioactive type in the thyroid, but the Russian authorities failed to provide the complement to all people at risk.

Radioactive iodine has a half-life of only eight days, and was not thought to be present outside the plant at concentrations high enough to cause immediate health problems. But the isotope was concentrated in the milk the cows, and children who drank milk or ate contaminated dairy products affected are particularly at risk.

The study

An international team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute has been monitoring the health effects of the Chernobyl accident for years.

In the study released now, the team examined 12,500 people who were under 18 years old at the time of the accident in 1986 and lived in one of the three provinces closest to the accident site: Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, and Kiev. The level of radioactivity in the thyroid glands of the participants were measured two months after the accident.

Results showed that those with the highest exposure were at greater risk of developing thyroid cancer in later years. 65 study participants developed thyroid cancer during the 10-year study follow-up.

In fact, the increased risks associated with exposure to radioactive iodine still showed no sign of decline. Studies done in Japan after World War II suggested that the increased risk of thyroid cancer began to decline only 30 years after the atomic blasts, but remained above normal, even 40 years later.

Some of the study participants lived up to the Chernobyl 90 km from the crash site, demonstrating the risks of drinking or eating contaminated food among people who were exposed to little or no immediate radioactive iodine from the explosion.

"This study confirms the risk of thyroid cancer derived from radioactive iodine, noted co-author of the study Alina V. Brenner." But the thyroid cancer is a major non-lethal cancers if detected and treated early, it has a good prognosis. "


   Palavras-chave:   Radioactivity    Radioactive iodine    I-131    Thyroid cancer    National Cancer Institute   
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