London, Mar 5 (UNI) Workers from the nuclear industry exposed to high levels of radiation may be at an increased risk of heart disease, new research has stated.
Other research has shown that high exposure over a short period of time may cause heart disease but the new findings link exposure to long-term exposure at relatively lower levels.
Further detailed investigation was, however, necessary to determine whether radiation exposure was directly responsible for the increases in circulatory disease. Other factors such as diet, exercise, socio-economic status, shift working and stress, could also be responsible.
The study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology studied almost 65,000 individuals employed between 1946 and 2002 at sites operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc and its predecessors, including Springfields, Capenhurst, Sellafield and Chapelcross.
The present findings revealed that chronic exposure to radiation, spread over long periods of time such as received by some radiation workers in the past, might also be able to cause increased heart disease. The risk was greatest for the people who worked before the 1980s when safety conditions improved. The risk rose with levels the level of radiation exposure.
Experts said much of the radiation-induced heart disease was caused by relatively high doses and the question of whether lower doses of radiation can cause heart disease was not yet resolved.
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