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Urgent Change Needed to Radiation Protection Policy

Cuttler, Jerry M.

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000383
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Although almost 120 y of medical experience and data exist on human exposure to ionizing radiation, advisory bodies and regulators claim there are still significant uncertainties about radiation health risks that require extreme precautions be taken. Decades of evidence led to recommendations in the 1920s for protecting radiologists by limiting their daily exposure. These were shown in later studies to decrease both their overall mortality and cancer mortality below those of unexposed groups. In the 1950s, without scientific evidence, the National Academy of Sciences Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation (BEAR) Committee and the NCRP recommended that the linear no-threshold (LNT) model be used to assess the risk of radiation-induced mutations in germ cells and the risk of cancer in somatic cells. This policy change was accepted by the regulators of every country without a thorough review of its basis. Because use of the LNT model has created extreme public fear of radiation, which impairs vital medical applications of low-dose radiation in diagnostics and therapy and blocks nuclear energy projects, it is time to change radiation protection policy back into line with the data.

*Cuttler & Associates Inc, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada L4J 8G4.

The author declares no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

(Manuscript accepted 8 August 2015)

© 2016 by the Health Physics Society