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Current epidemiological evidence regarding the health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation. Implications for radiation protection, public health and forensic medicine

By Manzoli L, Romano F, Schioppa F, D'Ovidio C, Lodi V and Pirone GM.

Abstract

The health effects of low-dose ionizing radiation have been widely studied, but remain uncertain. Up-to-date knowledge about epidemiologic evidence for potential human health effects of low dose ionizing radiation is important for revising national radiation protection legislation. This review, conducted by a multidisciplinary research team of the Italian Institute of Social Medicine, evaluates epidemiologic studies published since July 2003. After careful selection, a total of 302 studies were reviewed. Greater emphasis was given to papers that analyzed data using standardized incidence and mortality ratios and to studies regarding occupational exposures in all workers, healthcare workers and aircrew members. Nevertheless, studies regarding A-bomb survivors of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Chernobyl cleanup workers, patients exposed for medical reasons, and workers in nuclear plants were also included. Given the limitations of epidemiological studies and excluding the cosmic rays context, which requires further research, the authors conclude that harmful effects from exposures to ionizing radiation at doses lower than 100 mSv cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, if any harmful health effects do exist, they are certainly very small. The implications for radiation protection, public health and forensic medicine are discussed

Topics: low-dose ionizing radiation, health effects, review
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:iris.unife.it:11392/2361041
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