07/11/2005

Low dose ionising radiation exposure study

A retrospective cohort study of workers from a wide range of countries
including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, South Korea, Lithuania, Spain,
Sweden, the UK, and the US, who were required to wear radiation dosimeters or
badges in the course of their employment, has discovered a 'small but
significant' increase in their cancer mortality.

The British Medical Journal-published, Risk of cancer after low doses of
ionising radiation - retrospective cohort study in 15 countries, was
co-ordinated by WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to
evaluate the risk of cancer death, including leukaemia, as a consequence of
low-level exposure to high energy photon (gamma-ray) radiation.

As well as the occupationally exposed, the study was relevant to risk
estimation for the general public who can receive environmental doses over a
prolonged period, eg from radon gas in their homes and workplaces.

The study suggests that 1 to 2% of deaths from cancer (including leukaemia)
among the low-dose, low dose-rate workers studied may have been caused by
radiation exposure.

These results provide the most precise and comprehensive direct estimates of
cancer risk after protracted exposure to low doses of ionising radiation; they
strengthen the scientific basis of radiation protection standards for
environmental, occupational, and medical diagnostic exposures. They support
current evidence on the carcinogenic potential of ionising radiation yet
provide reassurance concerning the likely impact of ionising radiation on the
global cancer burden.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Safetynews