Physical Dosimetry and Biological Indicators of Carcinogenic Risk in a Cohort of Persons Exposed to Unhealthy Ecological Factors Following the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident

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ABSTRACT.The April 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident caused ecological changes in the Ovruch State forests in the Zhytomir oblast in the Ukraine. The highest radioactivity existed in moss, followed by the pine-forest substrate and soil. During 1984-1985, the pine needles were primarily surface contaminated, whereas during 1986-1988, they were contaminated secondarily. Radioactivity in air was highest (1.07 ± 0.185 Bq/l) during dry and sunny weather and when trees were felled; the lowest levels (0.196 ± 0.044 Bq/l) occurred during periods of stable snow coverage. Between 1987 and 1989 (i.e., after the Chernobyl accident), the caesium levels in forestry employees exceeded by 13.9-fold the average levels found in the Ukrainian Polessje population. Ovruch forest guards and woodcutters had the highest effective equivalent doses of radiation, and they therefore exhibited the highest carcinogenic risk.

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