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March 16, 1994

Nuclear Weapons Testing Fallout and Thyroid Disease

Author Affiliations

William Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak, Mich

JAMA. 1994;271(11):825-826. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510350033030

To the Editor.  —In a recent article by Kerber et al1 an attempt was made to study thyroid disease in relation to fallout from nuclear weapons testing. While such information would definitely be of interest, the reported study had little hope from the start of succeeding or achieving the authors' goals. The shortcomings of their methods cannot be made light of. Dietary histories obtained 22 years after the fact would cause one to scoff at the likelihood of an accurate depiction of radioiodine intake. The authors report a method for determining dose to the thyroid from iodine 131 (131I) based on a largely untested modeling approach. The actual radiation dose to the thyroid in human beings has not been carefully examined in a group of subjects whose dietary history was collected as reported. The background radiation to the thyroid for the nonradioactive iodine—exposed population in Arizona leads to

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