Cohorts of Miners

The BEIR IV report, published in 1988, reviewed epidemiologic studies of underground-miner cohorts that had been published through 1987:

  • Uranium miners in the Colorado Plateau; Ontario, Port Radium, and Beaverlodge, Canada; Czechoslovakia; and France.

  • Tin miners in Cornwall, U.K.

  • Fluorspar miners in Canada.

  • Iron miners in Sweden.

  • Other miners in Sweden.

  • Niobium miners in Norway.

The BEIR IV committee analyzed data on four of the cohorts Malmberget (Sweden) iron miners, Colorado Plateau uranium miners, Beaverlodge uranium miners, and Ontario uranium miners-to develop a risk model. Those four yielded the only data on radon-progeny exposures of individual participants to which the committee could gain access; at that time, data from the Czechoslovakian miners could not be obtained, and several other investigations were still in progress.

Since publication of the BEIR IV report, the findings on additional cohorts have been reported; all confirm the excess lung cancer incidence found in previous studies, and all demonstrate increasing risk with increasing exposure to radon progeny. The more recent cohorts include Chinese tin miners (Xuan et al., 1993), notable for the large population of exposed miners, the large number first exposed as children, and the complications caused by arsenic exposure; New Mexico uranium miners in the

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