Nonradiological Health Consequences from Evacuation and Relocation (NUREG/CR-7285)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: July 2021
Date Published: September 2021

Prepared by:
T. Adams1
L. MacMillan1
R. Casagrande1
M. Osborn1
A. Huff1
T. Smith2

1Gryphon Scientific, LLC
6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 810
Takoma Park, MD 20912

2U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555

Todd Smith, NRC Technical Monitor
Amy Sharp, NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20555

Availability Notice


Evacuation and relocation are protective actions that can be implemented to prevent or reduce exposure to a hazard following emergency events, but they are not without their own risks. Previous research has identified these risks, but the aggregate of the risk has not been quantified. This study includes a meta-analysis of 14 health effects experienced by evacuees and relocated populations. Effects studied include anxiety, heart disease, and mortality, among others. Following a literature review of more than 1,200 papers, the authors selected 82 papers for a meta-analysis. The likelihood of an effect in a population was estimated using odds ratios and the prevalence of health effects in displaced and nondisplaced populations across various hazards. A meta-regression was performed to identify which event factors contributed to unusually high or low prevalence of health effects among displaced or nondisplaced populations. The meta-analysis showed an association between displacement and an increase in all the negative health effects studied. Additionally, a higher prevalence among displaced populations was statistically significant for nine health effects. These findings confirm that evacuation and relocation have associated quantifiable long-term risks as a result of the prolonged displacement. This information is an important factor in risk-informed protective actions for radiological emergencies.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, October 05, 2021