Health effects of low-level radiation

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Health effects of low level radiation

Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. It is probably only a matter of time before we witness the next event in which large numbers of people are exposed to ionizing radiation.

In the past, planning a response to such an occurrence would have likely focused on the management of casualties from high-dose exposure. However, more recently, a different threat has come to the fore: accidental through a containment breach in a nuclear power plant, for example or intentional via a "dirty bomb" releases of radioactivity resulting in low-dose exposure to a population.

The magnitude of the health risks arising from low-dose radiation exposure is uncertain, and this uncertainty has significant economic implications for public health decision making. Research on Health Effects of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation Exposure examines recent scientific knowledge about the human effects of exposure to low-dose radiation from medical, occupational, and environmental ionizing-radiation sources.

The report identifies current research directions in radiobiological science and assesses how AFRRI programs are advancing research along these directions.

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The recommendations of Research on Health Effects of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation Exposure will provide guidance for AFRRI to build on its strengths and advance its mission while contributing to the body of scientific knowledge on the health effects of exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation. The National Academies Press and the Transportation Research Board have partnered with Copyright Clearance Center to offer a variety of options for reusing our content.

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What Does Radiation Poisoning Do to Your Body?

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Login or Register. E-mail this page Embed book widget. For example, the U. Federal Aviation Administration estimates an airline pilot spending a year career flying at 30, feet between Chicago and New York will experience enough extra cosmic radiation through the thinner atmosphere to increase his or her cancer risk by about 0.

Low Level Radiation on Human Health

In all, natural sources expose the average earthling to about 6. The millisievert is the common unit for measuring radiation exposure; one millisievert equals about 10 chest X-rays. There are other ways of measuring radiation, but the millisievert is the most widely used.

The trick is to limit our exposure to ionizing radiation above that universal 6. The National Council on Radiation Protection recommends we get no more than one additional unit per year. To put it in perspective, measuring in millisieverts, a chest X-ray adds 0. The new full-body scanners at airports may be intrusive, but their radiation level is low — far less than 0.

Although scientists differ on the effects of low-level exposure to ionizing radiation, most believe no dose is safe. But they can measure the effects of extremely high doses. So they extrapolate backward to create very rough estimates of low-level risks.

Their conclusion: A person exposed to 10 extra millisieverts of radiation, the equivalent of about chest X-rays, in small doses over a lifetime, would have a 0.


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Thyroid cancer and leukemia can follow after years of chronic overexposure.



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