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Biological Effects From Low Doses and Dose Rates of Ionizing Radiation: Science in the Service of Protecting Humans, a Synopsis

Feinendegen, Ludwig, E.*; Cuttler, Jerry, M.

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000833
Forum Article

There is considerable controversy regarding risk of health detriment after low-level exposure to ionizing radiation. This stems in part from a sort of distance between radiation biologists, epidemiologists, and radiation protection professionals, as well as regulatory institutions. Also, there is a lack of overview of the relevant data and their origins regarding health risks at low doses of ionizing radiation. This feeds seriously into a somewhat hazy fear of ionizing radiation that besets large portions of the public. The current synopsis aims at presenting a holistic view in a concise yet comprehensive manner in order to help people understand the full extent of inputs into attempting to relate low-dose radiation exposure to health risk. It emerges again that different approaches must be found for optimal radiation protection replacing the use of the linear no-threshold (LNT) model.

*Department of Nuclear Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany, and Biosciences Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York; †Cuttler & Associates Inc., Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact: Ludwig E. Feinendegen, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 4 December 2017)

© 2018 by the Health Physics Society