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Message Subject *** Fukushima *** and other nuclear-----updates and links
Poster Handle Anonymous Coward
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Defining radiation risk
UNSCEAR said that it was not possible to attribute increases in health effects across populations to long term exposure at radiation levels typical of the global average background levels (1-13 mSv per year). 'This is because of the uncertainties associated with the assessment of risks at low doses, the current absence of radiation specific biomarkers for health effects and the insufficient statistial power of epidemiological studies.'

For exposures below 100 mSv UNSCEAR said that a health issue across a population could be put down to radiation exposue on two conditions: that spontaneous occurrence of that issue was low while the radiosensitivity of that issue were very high; and that the number of cases was high enough to overcome 'the inherent statistical uncertainties'.

An example that could fit the definition is the well-known risk of thyroid cancer from accidental releases of iodine-131. The substance is a short-lived isotope produced in operating nuclear reactors and, if released in sufficient quantities during an accident, could be absorbed in the thyroid glands of children and young people and lead to thyroid cancer. This was only major radiation-related health effect of the Chernobyl accident on the public.

[link to www.world-nuclear-news.org]
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