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Low Dose Radiation and Health


Risk Assessment for Health of Women of Reproductive Age and Children Under 3 Caused by Low Dose Radiation in Uranium Provinces of Kyrgyzstan

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-RAD/Radiobiology/Biotechnology
  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Biology and Pedology, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • Municipal Child Hospital of First Aid, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek


  • Goettingen University / Department of Paediatrics, Germany, Göttingen

Project summary

Vitality of the research assessing radioactive pollution’s impact on women and children living in unfavourable areas of Kyrgyzstan, because of high radiation, is obvious. There are about 50 tailing dumps and more than 80 tips of radioactive wastes, formed as a result of uranium and complex ores (mercury, antimony, lead, cadmium and etc) mining around said unfavourable places. Those tailing dumps and tips contend 70 million m3 of wastes posing huge environmental threat. According Mining Wastes’ Tailings and Fills Rehabilitation Centre, established in 1999 by special Government’s Resolution, the most ecologically dangerous uranium tailings are in Min-Kush, Maili-Suu and Kadji-Say.

There are no more operational uranium mines and its processing in Kyrgyzstan. However, there are still many tailing dumps of unconditional uranium autunites nearby settlements. Most of tailing dumps are poorly maintained and appear in emergency condition. The situation is worsened by highly possible landslides, mudflows and earthquakes, which may distract tailing dumps and cause extended environmental pollution on other territories.

Unfavourable state of the environment nearby uranium fields in Kyrgyzstan negatively impacts health of especially women and children. An aggravation comes from traditional food such as milk and meet of livestock bred nearby those dumps and fills. According Ministry of Health, there are no children in good health in settlements nearby uranium fields. Most of them simultaneously have various chronic illnesses along with delay in physical, physiological and sexual development. There is a trend of high infant morbidity and mortality, cancer, perinatal mortality, miscarriage, frequent birth of children with multiple embryo genetic stigmas and abnormalities. It is to be noted that the miscarriage problem in the country is not attended at all.

Extremely important for the human health to identify level of radionuclides in environment’s components and in bodies women and children living close to uranium fields for finding level of threat of heavy chronic pathologies for functions and organs, cancer, congenital hypoplasias. Along with research over the impact of environmental factors on to children’s physical development in the country there is a need to assess impact of radiation factors on to mental development of them.

The main objective of this project and its difference from others are in the multifactor risk assessment for the health of women and children exposed to small-dose radiation and development of effective women and children health management model.

To reach this objective it is expected to implement two tasks: I. Environmental assessment, and II. Medical and biological assessment. Within these two the following activities are to be implemented:

  1. Survey of the radiological situation of areas close to uranium fields;
  2. Identification of the content of radionuclides in bodies of women and children living in unfavorable places;
  3. Analysis of medical – demographic situation in such places;
  4. On the base of screening - interview and monitoring data to research children’s pathology trend;
  5. Assessment of radiation and other risks for women and children’s health;
  6. elaboration of various recommendations on strengthening women and children health, improvement of medical-preventive assistance to this group depending of level and features of negative environmental impact caused by unfavorable radiological conditions

Sites for field survey – settlements such as Min-Kush, Maili-Suu, Kadji-Sai bound to uranium provinces of the Kyrgyz Republic. As a test-comparative settlement the Belogorka village of Sokuluk District with compatible social conditions of live is selected.

Within the project it is planned to medically check more than 600 children under 3 and 600 fertile age women. This survey group has been selected because of its high sensitivity to the negative environmental impact. Due to extended spread of unfavourable zones, closeness of settlements to them and huge length of negative impact on to several generations of people there is a reason to expect the wide spread and variety of genetic injuries.

It is to be noted as well that the comprehensive risk assessment considering multifactor dynamic of radionuclides migration was not held within the entire post-soviet period of the country. Newness and exceptionality of the project is in pioneering in Kyrgyzstan the systemic epidemiological approach in assessment of environmental conditions influencing on mortality, morbidity and pathology spread among children under 3 in the dynamic and by every year of life in the areas of small radiation. The structure of mortality and morbidity are to be researched.

There are few publications concerned only on infant mortality, however high sensitivity of this age group to unfavourable environmental and social factors defines high scientific value of this research. There are separate data on radiation impact to the children health, but these data show negative impact of radiation to particular diseases. That is why comprehensive research over specific environmental conditions with long-term negative impact of small doze radiation within past 50 years, impact of chemical pollution (Kadji-Say and Haidarkan plants) along with low social conditions at the same territory makes this research exceptional.


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