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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Radiation From Chernobyl Linked to Leukemia Cases in Greece

July 25, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Greek children who were exposed to radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster while in their mothers' wombs were 2.6 times as likely as unexposed children to develop leukemia, according to Massachusetts researchers. Dimitrios Trichopolous of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention and colleagues reported in the July 25 edition of Nature that they had found clear evidence that the explosion could have caused the disease, which makes up a third of all malignant cancers in children.

They checked every case of childhood leukemia reported in Greece, where prevailing winds had carried much of the radiation, against measurements of the fallout from the disaster. They found no difference in cancer rates among children who were born before the accident or conceived afterward.

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