Radiation Exposure Causes Heart Disease
Long-term radiation exposure increases risk for heart diseases.
Researchers from Westlakes Scientific Consulting examined medical records of 65000 people employed between 1946 and 2002 at areas operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc.
Employees were exposed to relatively low nuclear radiation during their employment. They appeared to have increased risk for developing heart disease, especially employed before 1980, because safety measures were low during that period. Only after 1980 safety measures were improved.
42000 employees exposed to higher levels of radiation had even more increased risk for heart disease compared to those working in offices.
Previously conducted research has already shown that high levels of radiation exposure during a short period increase heart disease rate. This research studies lower levels of radiation during a long term period. For example, radiation level in this study is from 5 to 10 times lower than atomic bomb radiation level.
"The findings of the present study clearly suggest that even chronic exposure to radiation, spread over long periods of time such as received by some radiation workers in the past, may also be able to cause increased heart disease," said Dudley Goodhead from Medical Research Council.
However, the research didn't take into consideration other factors affecting heart disease risk, such as smoking, cholesterol levels, diet, and exercising. More research needs to be done to give a clear picture of how much exactly radiation increases heart disease risk.