Anthropometric measurements in newborn children of personnel employed at radiation-hazardous production as indicators used in monitoring over consequences of parental exposure to radiation

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S.F. Sosnina, P.V. Okatenko, M.E. Sokolnikov


Southern Urals Biophysics Institute of FMBA of Russia, 19 Ozerskoe shosse, Ozersk, 456780, Russian Federation


Physical development of offspring can be an important criterion applied to assess effects produced by parental exposure. The cohort that includes workers employed at Mayak Production Association (PA), the first nuclear fuel cycle production facility in Russia, is a valuable information source for analyzing consequences of occupational exposure.

Our objective was to analyze somatometric parameters of newborn children of Mayak PA workers who were occupationally exposed to pre-conception external gamma-radiation.

We retrospectively analyzed anthropometric measurements of 13,880 newborn children, all born in 1949–1973; 9321 children were conceived by parents who were long-term occupationally exposed to radiation at Mayak PA. The analysis covered the core anthropometric elements including height, weight, head circumference, and chest circumference. Development proportionality was estimated by using Quetelet, Vervek – Vorontsov’s, and Erismann indexes. We estimated a correlation between anthropometric measurements and accumulated parental pre-conception external gamma radiation dose and calculated relative risk coefficients and odds ratio with 95 % confidence interval.

We established that parents were exposed to a wide range of external gamma radiation doses, up to 4075.6 mGy to the ovaries and 5653.1 mGy to the testicles. There was a weak correlation between newborns’ height and weight and parental exposure. We also detected a trend for a decrease in newborns’ body mass with increasing accumulated pre-conception dose of external gamma radiation to the ovaries and, conversely, for an increase in it with a growing dose to the testicles. We revealed a statistically significant increase in height and weight among children conceived and born by Mayak PA workers, namely, a greater share of children with high body mass at birth. Analysis of children’s somatotypes confirmed excessive values of proportionality indexes that showed height and weight measurements among children of exposed parents. Additional analysis of firstborns and children with proper duration of gestation produced the same results. Risk assessment indicated there was significant prevalence of children with high body mass among offspring of exposed people.

We also assessed physical development of Mayak PA workers’ newborns taking into account the latest data on long-term occupational exposure; this assessment is vital for epidemiological monitoring over health of children born by personnel employed at radiation-hazardous production facilities.

physical development, newborns, radiation-hazardous production facilities, pre-conception exposure, dose to the gonads, Mayak PA personnel, offspring, Quetelet index, Vervek – Vorontsov’s index, Erismann index
Sosnina S.F., Okatenko P.V., Sokolnikov M.E. Anthropometric measurements in newborn children of personnel employed at radiation-hazardous production as indicators used in monitoring over consequences of parental exposure to radiation. Health Risk Analysis, 2022, no. 1, pp. 36–47. DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2022.1.04.eng
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