Research Needed to Understand Impact of Low-Dose Radiation

FRIDAY, June 10, 2022 — Multidisciplinary research is needed to improve understanding of the impact of low doses of radiation on human health, according to a report published online June 2 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Noting that there are concerns regarding the potential adverse effects of exposures to ionizing radiation at low doses or low dose rates, Joe W. Gray, Ph.D., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues address the importance of research into this radiation and development of a long-term strategic and prioritized research agenda.

The authors note that a coordinated multidisciplinary low-dose radiation research program can improve understanding of adverse human health effects from exposure to radiation. Comprehensive understanding of these effects will allow better assessment of whether current risk estimates are accurate. The application of novel and developing technologies will allow more precise definition of the processes that are affected by radiation; integration of this information with that from epidemiological studies will allow improved quantification of the adverse health effects of low-dose radiation. Significant investments are needed over a sustained period to develop and maintain a multidisciplinary low-dose radiation research program. The best estimate is that the investments required will cost about $100 million annually during the first 10 to 15 years of the program.

“There is much we don’t know about the impacts of low-dose radiation exposures on our health — but recent advances in research, new tools, and a coordinated multidisciplinary research program could help us fill those gaps,” Gray said in a statement.

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