137 cesium exposure and spirometry measures in Ukrainian children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear incident

The short-term effects on the lung and pulmonary system following acute high-dose exposure to radiation are relatively well known. However, there has been comparatively little research on the long-term health effects of radioisotope exposure on the respiratory system. After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, children of the contaminated Narodichesky region of Ukraine were exposed to 137cesium (137Cs) in contaminated soils, air, and food. Using a a longitudinal prospective cohort study design, Svendsen et al. investigated associations between mean baseline soil 137Cs levels in each village and spirometry measures based on 1,888 repeated measurements in 415 children from 1993 to 1998. The authors report that chronic exposure to low-dose radioactive contaminants found downwind of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was associated with airway obstruction and restriction in children living in the Narodichesky region.