Association of leukemia with radium groundwater contamination.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 254, Issue 5, p.621-6 (1985)


Florida, Humans, Leukemia, Radiation-Induced, Maximum Allowable Concentration, Radium, RISK, Water Pollutants, Water Pollutants, Radioactive


Radiation exposure, including the ingestion of radium, has been causally associated with leukemia in man. Groundwater samples from 27 counties on or near Florida phosphate lands were found to exceed 5 pCi/L total radium in 12.4% of measurements. The incidence of leukemia was greater in those counties with high levels of radium contamination (greater than 10% of the samples contaminated) than in those with low levels of contamination. Rank correlation coefficients of .56 and .45 were observed between the radium contamination level and the incidence of total leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia, respectively. The standardized incidence density ratio for those in high-contamination counties was 1.5 for total leukemia and 2.0 for acute myeloid leukemia. Further investigation is necessary, however, before a causal relationship between groundwater radium content and human leukemia can be established.