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March 16, 1994

Nuclear Weapons Testing Fallout and Thyroid Disease

Author Affiliations

Alexandria, Va

JAMA. 1994;271(11):826. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510350033031

To the Editor.  —The article by Kerber et al1 concludes that from zero to six thyroid carcinomas were probably caused by radioiodine fallout from the Nevada nuclear tests. This is based on a finding of 2.6 excess thyroid carcinomas among 2473 subjects. Eight thyroid carcinoma cases were observed— four in a Utah population and four in an Arizona group. Five of these carcinomas were found among 1419 subjects whose thyroid exposure was calculated to be less than 50 mGy. In this group one would expect a natural incidence of 3.1 thyroid carcinomas, leading to an excess of 1.9. This means that three fourths of the excess carcinoma is expressed in subjects with less than a 50-mGy dose to the thyroid.Actually, the excess carcinomas should be proportional to the collective thyroid dose, ie, to the number of subjects multiplied by their mean dose. Those with less than 50-mGy doses

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