Radiation and Health

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Safe or Not?

However, these changes are not seen or cannot be related to health effects in humans. The human health effects that have been observed have been when individuals or groups have received larger doses of radiation more than mSv from events like those due to military uses of nuclear weapons, accidents, and uses of radiation in medicine for therapy. If a population receives a radiation dose of 1, mSvin a short period of time, we expect health effects in some of the people who were exposed.

However, many who receive a dose at that level will not have any long-lasting health effects. This is like so many other things in our lives. If we eat a high-cholesterol, high-fat diet, some of us may end up with heart disease.

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Because radiation has been studied so much, there are some things we can say with certainty that apply to a majority of the population. We know that if the radiation dose is quite large and given in a short period of time, like the 10, mSvin the chart above, it will cause an individual to be very sick and die.

Normally, we receive a small amount of background radiation from space and from Earth itself.

Is radiation dangerous? - Matt Anticole

Normal cell repair mechanisms have evolved to compensate for this. Cell enzyme systems repair damaged membranes and mutated DNA.

How Radiation Threatens Health - Scientific American

LDR entails a level of exposure slightly above the normal background. The topic of radiation hormesis is especially relevant given the ongoing debate among medical professionals about whether low- to mid-level X-radiation from CT scans is harmful to patients. But it remains controversial. And even for the same person, the optimal dose of LDR might differ for one health condition versus another. However, in the scientific literature, studies related to radiation hormesis have steadily increased in number over the last three decades.

Some researchers have begun trying to examine low-level radiation effects in human populations. One recent study , for instance, found that lung cancer incidence is significantly lower in U. The larger medical community, however, remains unconvinced. A review by the National Academy of Sciences considered a wide range of studies but concluded that evidence for radiation hormesis in humans was too thin to prove its existence.

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For instance, in experiments on low-dose radiation given to dogs over the course of their lifetimes, though the dogs showed increased DNA repair and cell proliferation, they also had higher rates of leukemia. There is a long way to go to in research on low levels of radiation before understanding its risks and benefits. The next steps probably involve more studies on how mammals, such as dogs, pigs, or possibly non-human primates, respond to varying amounts of LDR during fetal life and at different ages, and then testing their ability to resist the onset of diseases compared with animals that did not receive LDR.

There are studies that keep track of groups of people who have been exposed to radiation, including atomic bomb survivors and radiation industry workers.

Radiation and health

These studies show that radiation exposure increases the chance of getting cancer, and the risk increases as the dose increases: the higher the dose, the greater the risk. Conversely, cancer risk from radiation exposure declines as the dose falls: the lower the dose, the lower the risk. The international unit is sieverts Sv. Risks that are low for an individual could still result in unacceptable numbers of additional cancers in a large population over time. For example, in a population of one million people, an average one-percent increase in lifetime cancer risk for individuals could result in 10, additional cancers.

The EPA sets regulatory limits and recommends emergency response guidelines well below millisieverts 10 rem to protect the U. Source: CDC.


Learn more about cancer risk in the U. Population , also known as the Blue Book. EPA bases its regulatory limits and nonregulatory guidelines for public exposure to low level ionizing radiation on the linear no-threshold LNT model. The LNT model assumes that the risk of cancer due to a low-dose exposure is proportional to dose, with no threshold. In other words, cutting the dose in half cuts the risk in half.

There is evidence to support LNT from laboratory data and from studies of cancer in people exposed to radiation.

https://tverliaflavrymp.tk Understanding the type of radiation received, the way a person is exposed external vs.

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