~e; Panel affirms radiation link to cancer

From "brian carroll" <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Wed, 29 Jun 2005 12:53:46 -0400 (EDT)

[ionized radiation is harmful. so why are
companies now able to sell indoor 'air ionizers'
as devices which clean the air (by creating
ozone). curious. now will they be taken off the
market as a result?]

Panel affirms radiation link to cancer
By H. Josef Hebert // .edu fair-use

June 29, 2005  |   WASHINGTON -- The preponderance
of scientific evidence shows that even very low
doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer or other
health problems and there is no threshold below
which exposure can be viewed as harmless, a panel
of prominent scientists concluded Wednesday.

The finding by the National Academy of Sciences
panel is viewed as critical because it is likely
to significantly influence what radiation levels
government agencies will allow at abandoned
nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons production
facilities and elsewhere.

The nuclear industry, as well as some independent
scientists, have argued that there is a threshold
of very low level radiation where exposure is not
harmful, or possibly even beneficial. They said
current risk modeling may exaggerate the health

The panel, after five years of study, rejected
that claim.

"The scientific research base shows that there is
no threshold of exposure below which low levels of
ionized radiation can be demonstrated to be
harmless or beneficial," said Richard R. Monson,
the panel chairman and a professor of epidemiology
at Harvard's School of Public Health.

The committee gave support to the so-called
"linear, no threshold" model that is currently the
generally acceptable approach to radiation risk
assessment. This approach assumes that the health
risks from radiation exposure declines as the dose
levels decline, but that each unit of radiation --
no matter how small -- still is assumed to cause

The panel, formally known as the Committee on
Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiaton, or BEIR,
generally supported previous cancer risk estimates
-- the last one by an earlier BEIR group in 1990.

Contrary to assertions that risks from exposure
from low-level radiation may have been overstated,
the panel said "the availability of new and more
extensive data have strengthened confidence in
these (earlier) estimates."

The committee examined doses of radiation of up to
100 millisievert, a measurement of accumulated
radiation to an individual over a year. By
comparison, a single chest X-ray accounts for 0.1
millisievert and average background radiation 3

The committee estmated that 1 out of 100 people
would likely develop solid cancer or leukemia from
an exposure of 100 millisievert of radiation over
a lifetime.

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