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Exposure from the Chernobyl accident had adverse effects on erythrocytes, leukocytes, and, platelets in children in the Narodichesky region, Ukraine: A 6-year follow-up study

BioMed Central
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1476-069x-7-21
  • Research
  • Medicine


Background After the Chernobyl nuclear accident on April 26, 1986, all children in the contaminated territory of the Narodichesky region, Zhitomir Oblast, Ukraine, were obliged to participate in a yearly medical examination. We present the results from these examinations for the years 1993 to 1998. Since the hematopoietic system is an important target, we investigated the association between residential soil density of 137Caesium (137Cs) and hemoglobin concentration, and erythrocyte, platelet, and leukocyte counts in 1,251 children, using 4,989 repeated measurements taken from 1993 to 1998. Methods Soil contamination measurements from 38 settlements were used as exposures. Blood counts were conducted using the same auto-analyzer in all investigations for all years. We used linear mixed models to compensate for the repeated measurements of each child over the six year period. We estimated the adjusted means for all markers, controlling for potential confounders. Results Data show a statistically significant reduction in red and white blood cell counts, platelet counts and hemoglobin with increasing residential 137Cs soil contamination. Over the six-year observation period, hematologic markers did improve. In children with the higher exposure who were born before the accident, this improvement was more pronounced for platelet counts, and less for red blood cells and hemoglobin. There was no exposure×time interaction for white blood cell counts and not in 702 children who were born after the accident. The initial exposure gradient persisted in this sub-sample of children. Conclusion The study is the first longitudinal analysis from a large cohort of children after the Chernobyl accident. The findings suggest persistent adverse hematological effects associated with residential 137Cs exposure.

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