Mortality among diagnostic medical radiation workers in South Korea, 1996–2015

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the risk for all-cause and cause-specific mortality in diagnostic medical radiation workers in South Korea.

Methods

The study population included all diagnostic medical radiation workers enrolled in the National Dosimetry Registry (NDR) between 1996 and 2011. NDR data were linked with mortality data obtained from national registries through 2015. Standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) and relative standardised mortality ratios (rSMRs) were calculated for external comparison and for adjustment of the cohort’s overall healthiness.

Results

A total of 1099 deaths (974 in men and 125 in women) were reported from among 80 837 medical radiation workers. The SMRs for all causes of death were significantly lower than expected in both men (SMR 0.45, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.48) and women (SMR 0.49, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.58). No excesses were observed for any specific cause of death. The findings were similar by job title, calendar year of entry and year of birth. However, relative to all causes of death, mortality from all cancers (rSMR 1.60, 95% CI 1.41 to 1.82), leukaemia, colon cancer, stomach cancer and diseases of the circulatory system increased significantly among male workers. The results for female workers were limited due to small number of deaths; however, the rSMR for all cancers was significantly elevated (rSMR 1.70, 95% CI 1.17 to 2.46).

Conclusions

This cohort showed lower mortality among diagnostic medical radiation workers than in the general population. However, occupational factors may have been involved in the increased relative mortality for several causes of death.

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