Behavior and Food Consumption Pattern of the French Polynesian Population in the 1960s –1970s

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, MD, USA.

2 National Cancer Institute (retired), Bethesda, MD, USA.

3 Research Institute for Development, Center IRD on Tahiti, Arue, Tahiti, French Polynesia.

4 Hydrosciences Montpellier, Research Institute for Development, CNRS, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France.

5 National Institute for Health and Medical Research, Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP), INSERM U1018, Radiation Epidemiology Group, Villejuif, France.

6 Institute Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.

7 University Paris-Saclay, Villejuif, France.

8 University of Lorraine, INSERM CIC 1433, Nancy CHRU, INSERM U1116, Nancy, France.

Abstract

Background. Reconstruction of radiation doses to the thyroid for a case-control study of thyroid cancer in French Polynesians exposed to radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests during childhood and adolescence faced a major limitation on very little availability of information on lifestyle of French Polynesians in the 1960s–1970s. Method: We use the focus group discussion and key informant interview methodology to collect historical, for the 1960s–1970s, data on behavior and food consumption for French Polynesia population exposed to radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons tests conducted between 1966 and 1974. Results. We obtained archipelago-specific data on food consumptions by children of different ages and by pregnant and lactating women during pregnancy and breastfeeding and behaviour, including time spent outdoors and type and construction materials of residences. Conclusions. This article presents the first detailed information on several key aspects of daily life on French Polynesian archipelagoes during the 1960s–1970s impacting radiation exposure. Important behavior and food consumptions data obtained in this study are being used to improve the radiation dose estimates and to update the risk analysis reported earlier by correcting biases from previous assumptions and by providing better estimates of the parameter values important to radiation dose assessment.

Keywords