Occupational exposure to ionizing and non-ionizing radiation and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Ken K. Karipidis
  • Geza Benke
  • Malcolm R. Sim
  • Timo Kauppinen
  • Anne Kricker
  • Ann Maree Hughes
  • Andrew E. Grulich
  • Claire M. Vajdic
  • John Kaldor
  • Bruce Armstrong
  • Lin Fritschi
Original Article



To investigate the association between occupational exposure to ionizing, ultraviolet (UV), radiofrequency (RF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation and risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in a population-based case-control study.


The study population consisted of 694 NHL cases, first diagnosed between 1 January 2000 and 31 August 2001, and 694 controls from two regions in Australia, matched by age, sex and region of residence. A detailed occupation history was first obtained using a lifetime calendar and a telephone interview. Exposure to radiation was then assessed using a Finnish job-exposure matrix (FINJEM). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated from logistic regression models that included the matching variables as covariates.


For ionizing radiation, the ORs were close to unity. For UV and ELF radiation, the highest exposed group of workers had ORs of 1.32 (95% CI = 0.96–1.81) and 1.25 (95% CI = 0.91–1.72), respectively. For UV radiation there was a positive dose–response when exposure was lagged by 5 and 10 years (P for trend 0.04 for both lag periods). Workers in the upper tertile of exposure for RF radiation had an OR of 3.15 (95% CI = 0.63–15.87), but the estimate was based on very small numbers.


Our results do not provide support for an association between NHL and occupational exposure to ionizing or ELF radiation. For UV radiation, our findings are consistent with a weak positive association. Further investigation focusing on UV and RF radiation and NHL is required.


Case-control studies Job exposure matrix Radiation Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Occupational exposure 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken K. Karipidis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Geza Benke
    • 1
  • Malcolm R. Sim
    • 1
  • Timo Kauppinen
    • 3
  • Anne Kricker
    • 4
  • Ann Maree Hughes
    • 5
  • Andrew E. Grulich
    • 6
  • Claire M. Vajdic
    • 6
  • John Kaldor
    • 6
  • Bruce Armstrong
    • 4
  • Lin Fritschi
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety AgencyYallambieAustralia
  3. 3.Finnish Institute of Occupational HealthHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.School of Public HealthUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Health SciencesUniversity of YorkHeslingtonUK
  6. 6.National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical ResearchUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  7. 7.Western Australian Institute for Medical ResearchPerthAustralia

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