Research and analysis

Radiation: risk of childhood cancer among the children of UK women radiation workers

This document (HPA-RPD-063) gives details of the study re-assessing the risk of childhood cancer among the offspring of UK women radiation workers.

Detail

This study was undertaken in order to re-assess an earlier finding of an increased risk of childhood cancer among the offspring of UK women radiation workers exposed to ionising radiation before the child’s conception.

The study involved the collection of new data as well as a pooled analysis of the new and original datasets and used a similar methodology to that in the earlier study. The new data provided no evidence of an association between childhood cancer and maternal preconception radiation work and analysis of the pooled data showed no statistically significant increase in childhood cancer risk.

Considering the pooled data, a weak association was found between maternal radiation work during pregnancy and childhood cancer in offspring although the evidence is limited by the small numbers of linked cases and controls. Neither the new nor the pooled data support our earlier suggestion of a raised risk of childhood cancer in the offspring of female radiation workers.