Radium and Leukemia: Is Current Dogma Valid?

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Current reviews have concluded that internal 226Ra appears not to give rise to leukemia in humans, a conclusion based on incidence in U.S. female radium dial workers. In fact, leukemias have occurred significantly early in female dial workers; males occupationally exposed to radium show an excess of leukemias; and the rare erythrocytic leukemias appear in male workers as they do in Thorotrast case series. It appears more reasonable that Thorotrast data are suitable for projection of leukemogenic risk from radium and plutonium than that no concern for leukemogenic risk is warranted.

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