WORKERS in the 17 US Department of Energy's nuclear plants around the country are not the only sources of data on the health effects of low-dose radiation exposure (JAMA. 1990;264:553-557). Those who live near these plants or work in other kinds of nuclear facilities are also candidates for study.
This approach in the United States has been prompted in part by the experience in Britain. A series of clusters that involve small numbers of cases of leukemia has been reported there, occurring in several areas where nuclear facilities are located.
One of these British studies is making news at the moment. It suggests that, while the risk of childhood leukemia was found (in various studies) to be unrelated to various measures of environmental contamination from the nuclear plant at Sellafield in northwest England, there was a slightly increased risk of leukemia if the fathers of the children with leukemia were