Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Cohort profile: four early uranium processing facilities in the US and Canada.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.


Pooling of individual-level data for workers involved in uranium refining and processing (excluding enrichment) may provide valuable insights into risks from occupational uranium and external ionizing radiation exposures.


Data were pooled for workers from four uranium processing facilities (Fernald, Mallinckrodt and Middlesex from the U.S.; and Port Hope, Canada). Employment began as early as the 1930s and follow-up was as late as 2017. Workers were exposed to high concentrations of uranium, radium, and their decay products, as well as gamma radiation and ambient radon decay products. Exposure and outcome data were harmonized using similar definitions and dose reconstruction methods. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were estimated.


In total, 560 deaths from lung cancer, 503 non-malignant respiratory diseases, 67 renal diseases, 1,596 ischemic heart diseases, and 101 dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) were detected in the pooled cohort of over 12,400 workers (∼1,300 females). Mean cumulative doses were 45 millisievert for whole-body external ionizing radiation exposure and 172 milligray for lung dose from radon decay products. Only SMR for dementia and AD among males was statistically significant (SMR=1.29; 95% confidence interval: 1.04, 1.54).


This is the largest study to date to examine long-term health risks of uranium processing workers.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item