The quantification of the effects of lowlevel radiation is basedmainly upon epidemiological studies. Recent reassessment of the datafrom Japanese survivors of the effects of radiation from Second WorldWar bombing and from ankylosing spondylitis patients reveals anincreased risk of leukaemia from low level exposures. The implicationsfor the health of radiation workers and the management of the nuclearpower industry are important. There is controversy over possiblehormetic effects. A true hormetic effect has to be seen to affect thewhole person. Although there is evidence at the cellular level thatlowlevel radiation may enhance the bodys immune system, this is notsufficient to justify widespread scientific support. This isparticularly since the speculation on the effects of lowlevel radiationand the connection with the occurrence of leukaemia is creating concern.The increases in the incidence of disease and the pattern ofdistribution remain difficult to explain while the task of translatingthe evidence from individual cases proves increasingly difficult in thecontext of varied types of radiation and the properties of particularradionuclides.
Environmental Management and Health – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 1, 1992