Cesium-137 contaminated roads and health problems in residents: An epidemiological investigation in Seoul, 2011

Mina Ha, Young Su Ju, Won Jin Lee, Seung sik Hwang, Sang Chul Yoo, Kyung Hwa Choi, Eunae Burm, Jieon Lee, Yun Keun Lee, Sanghyuk Im

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In 2011, two roads in a residential area in Seoul were found to be contaminated with the radionuclide cesium-137 (137Cs). In response to public concerns, an epidemiological study was conducted. Methods: The standardized cancer incidence ratios in the affected and neighboring regions were calculated based on the central cancer registry. Households in the region were sampled using the random stratified sampling technique, and questionnaires were administered to family members, via home visit and via students in elementary to high schools. Information on duration of residency and frequency of use of the roads was applied to calculate cumulative radiation exposure dose from the roads, alongside with the reported 137Cs contamination amounts. Information on past medical history, perceived risk, anxiety and psychological stress was also obtained. Of the 31,053 residents, 8,875 were analyzed. To examine possible associations between radiation exposure and health problems, logistic regression adjusted for covariates were performed with consideration of the sampling design, population weight and stratification. Results: No significant association was found between self-informed diseases, including cancers, and estimated radiation exposure dose. According to an increase of radiation level, a significant increase in anxiety in all and a decline in the psychosocial wellbeing of the adults was noted. The risk perception level was higher in the elderly, females, the less educated, and the highest exposed individuals. Conclusion: This study provides a basis for risk communication with residents and community environmental health policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58
JournalJournal of Korean medical science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.


  • Cs
  • Epidemiological investigation
  • Health effects
  • Radionuclide contamination
  • Risk perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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