Chernobyl radiation exposure raised unborn babies' thyroid cancer risk

04/23/2009 | Reuters

Researchers found that unborn babies exposed to radioactive iodine after the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant were more likely to develop thyroid cancer in the following 20 years compared with children of mothers who became pregnant when effects of the accident were no longer felt. The study also found that each unit of radioactive exposure increased the risk of the cancer about 11 times. The finding shows the need "to be extremely cautious" when using the iodine-131 radioisotope in treating pregnant women with overactive thyroid.

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