Childhood leukaemia in the West Berkshire and Basingstoke and North Hampshire District Health Authorities in relation to nuclear establishments in the vicinity.
Roman E., Beral V., Carpenter L., Watson A., Barton C., Ryder H., Aston DL.
During the years 1972-85, 89 children aged 0-14 were registered with leukaemia in the West Berkshire and Basingstoke and North Hampshire District Health Authorities. Two nuclear establishments are located within the health authorities, and a third is situated nearby. Fifty of the 143 electoral wards in the two district health authorities lie wholly within, or have at least half their area lying within, a circle of radius 10 km around the establishments. In those 50 electoral wards 41 children aged 0-14 were registered with leukaemia, 28.6 registrations being expected on the basis of leukaemia registration rates in England and Wales (incidence ratio = 1.4, p less than 0.05). This excess was confined to children aged 0-4, among whom there were 29 registrations of leukaemia, 14.4 being expected (incidence ratio = 2.0, p less than 0.001). In the remaining 93 electoral wards there was a small and non-significant increase in the number of registrations of leukaemia at age 0-14 (48 observed, 40.8 expected; incidence ratio = 1.2). There was no obvious trend in the incidence of childhood leukaemia over the 14 years and the overall occurrence of the malignancy in the 143 electoral wards was consistent with a random distribution. In the surrounding Oxford and Wessex Regional Health Authorities the number of registrations of leukaemia at age 0-14 was virtually identical with that expected on the basis of registration rates in England and Wales (362 observed, 372.5 expected; incidence ratio = 1.0). These data indicate that in the two district health authorities studied there was an excess incidence of childhood leukaemia during 1972-85 in the vicinity of the nuclear establishments. In the West Berkshire and Basingstoke and North Hampshire District Health Authorities an average of 60,000 children aged 0-14 lived within a 10 km radius of a nuclear establishment each year. The normal expectation of leukaemia in these children was two cases a year, whereas the recorded incidence was three cases per year, representing one extra case of leukaemia each year among these 60,000 children.