Nuclear radiation

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Health Physics Society


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation

  • What is radiation?
  • How is radiation measured?
  • How are people exposed to radiation?
  • What levels of radiation exposure do people receive?
  • What are the effects of exposure to radiation?

Radiation doses

Ionising radiation: dose comparisons Public Health England; 18 Mar 2011

Radiation Dose Chart Randall Munroe; xkcd Xkcd radiation.png

Radiation in Perspective Nuclear Energy Institute; Facebook; 13 Apr 2015

Facebook-Nuclear Energy Institute-IDigUMining-radiation chart.png

Infographic of the Day: The Best Radiation Chart We've Seen So Far MORGAN CLENDANIEL; fastcodesign; 29 Nov 2011

Radiation levels outside the Fukushima power plant remain mostly safe, but just how close are they to being dangerous?

Radioactive Isotopes

Iodine-131 Wikipedia

(8 days)
Iodine-131 (131I), is an important radioisotope of iodine discovered by Glenn Seaborg and John Livingood in 1938 at the University of California, Berkeley.[1] It has a radioactive decay half-life of about eight days. It is associated with nuclear energy, medical diagnostic and treatment procedures, and natural gas production. It also plays a major role as a radioactive isotope present in nuclear fission products, and was a significant contributor to the health hazards from open-air atomic bomb testing in the 1950s, and from the Chernobyl disaster, as well as being a large fraction of the contamination hazard in the first weeks in the Fukushima nuclear crisis. This is because I-131 is a major uranium, plutonium fission product, comprising nearly 3% of the total products of fission (by weight). I-131 is also a major fission product of uranium-233, produced from thorium.
Due to its mode of beta decay, iodine-131 is notable for causing mutation and death in cells that it penetrates, and other cells up to several millimeters away. For this reason, high doses of the isotope are sometimes less dangerous than low doses, since they tend to kill thyroid tissues that would otherwise become cancerous as a result of the radiation. For example, children treated with moderate dose of I-131 for thyroid adenomas had a detectable increase in thyroid cancer, but children treated with a much higher dose did not. Likewise, most studies of very-high-dose I-131 for treatment of Graves disease have failed to find any increase in thyroid cancer, even though there is linear increase in thyroid cancer risk with I-131 absorption at moderate doses.[2] Thus, iodine-131 is increasingly less employed in small doses in medical use (especially in children), but increasingly is used only in large and maximal treatment doses, as a way of killing targeted tissues. This is known as "therapeutic use."

Caesium-137 Wikipedia

(30 years)
Caesium-137 (Cs-137), cesium-137, or radiocaesium, is a radioactive isotope of caesium which is formed as one of the more common fission products by the nuclear fission of uranium-235 and other fissionable isotopes in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. It is among the most problematic of the short-to-medium-lifetime fission products because it easily moves and spreads in nature due to the high water solubility of caesium's most common chemical compounds, which are salts.

Strontium-90 Wikipedia

(28.8 years)

Radiation effects

X-rays don’t cause cancer: study safety and health magazine

US Low dose radiation research program US Department of Energy, Office of Biological and Environmental Research; 13-15 Mar 2012

DOE’s Low Dose Program: Is unique within the U.S. government in focusing on low dose iological research aimed at informing current and future national radiation risk policy for the public and the workplace

Radiation burns

Radiation burns - Beta burns Wikipedia

"Beta burns" are shallow surface burns, usually of skin and less often of lungs or gastrointestinal tract, caused by beta particles, typically from hot particles or dissolved radionuclides that came to direct contact with or close proximity to the body. They can appear similar to sunburn. Unlike gamma rays, beta emissions are stopped much more effectively by materials and therefore deposit all their energy in only a shallow layer of tissue, causing more intense but more localized damage. On cellular level, the changes in skin are similar to radiodermatitis.

radiation and cancers

Cancer Mortality Among People Living in Areas With Various Levels of Natural Background Radiation Ludwik Dobrzynski, Krzysztof W. Fornalski, Ludwig E. Feinendegen; Dose-response; Jul-Sep 2015

There are many places on the earth, where natural background radiation exposures are elevated significantly above about 2.5 mSv/year. The studies of health effects on populations living in such places are crucially important for understanding the impact of low doses of ionizing radiation. This article critically reviews some recent representative literature that addresses the likelihood of radiation-induced cancer and early childhood death in regions with high natural background radiation. The comparative and Bayesian analysis of the published data shows that the linear no-threshold hypothesis does not likely explain the results of these recent studies, whereas they favor the model of threshold or hormesis. Neither cancers nor early childhood deaths positively correlate with dose rates in regions with elevated natural background radiation.

Comment On: NRC-2015-0057-0086 Linear No-Threshold Model and Standards for Protection Against Radiation; Extension of Comment Period Mohan Doss, Ph.D., MCCPM, Medical Physicist, Associate Professor, Diagnostic Imaging, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19111; 17 Nov 2015

I am responding to comments received from many members of the public who have raised major concerns regarding the recent petitions to discontinue the use of the linear no-threshold (LNT) model for establishing radiation safety regulations, and the proposed higher radiation dose limits for the public. These concerns are based on a misunderstanding that exists regarding cancer and radiation effects in our society.

Linear No-Threshold Model and Standards for Protection Against Radiation Nukes Pretty Please; 8 Mar 2016

This is a, sort of, re-blog of Mohan Doss' submission to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, on radiation protection standards (link is above). Don't let that put you off reading it. It is a well-written summary of what we currently know about the harms of radiation and actual causes of cancer.


The Chernobyl Conundrum: Is Radiation As Bad As We Thought? Manfred Dworschak; Der Spiegel; 26 Apr 2016

Who would voluntarily breathe in radioactive gas? These days, there are people who do. They swear by the notorious noble gas radon, created by the decay of uranium: They inhale it deeply. Most believers in the healing qualities of radiation are suffering from a chronic inflammatory disease: arthritis, asthma or psoriasis, for example. The gas, they argue, alleviates their problems for months, which is why they lay in bubbling radon water offered by some healing spas. In Bad Kreuznach, in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, brave spa guests even trek into the tunnels of an abandoned mercury mine, attracted by the radon-filled air in the mountain. Are they crazy? As has now become clear, these people are right: Radioactivity is good for them. These are the initial findings of an ongoing large-scale trial conducted by researchers from four German institutes. The leader is radiobiologist Claudia Fournier, from the Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt.

Radiation Hormesis: Historical Perspective and Implications for Low-Dose Cancer Risk Assessment Alexander M. Vaiserman; Dose-Response; 18 Jan 2010

Current guidelines for limiting exposure of humans to ionizing radiation are based on the linear-no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis for radiation carcinogenesis under which cancer risk increases linearly as the radiation dose increases. With the LNT model even a very small dose could cause cancer and the model is used in establishing guidelines for limiting radiation exposure of humans. A slope change at low doses and dose rates is implemented using an empirical dose and dose rate effectiveness factor (DDREF). This imposes usually unacknowledged nonlinearity but not a threshold in the dose-response curve for cancer induction. In contrast, with the hormetic model, low doses of radiation reduce the cancer incidence while it is elevated after high doses. Based on a review of epidemiological and other data for exposure to low radiation doses and dose rates, it was found that the LNT model fails badly. Cancer risk after ordinarily encountered radiation exposure (medical X-rays, natural background radiation, etc.) is much lower than projections based on the LNT model and is often less than the risk for spontaneous cancer (a hormetic response). Understanding the mechanistic basis for hormetic responses will provide new insights about both risks and benefits from low-dose radiation exposure.


Treatment of Alzheimer Disease With CT Scans - A Case Report Jerry M. Cuttler, Eugene R. Moore, Victor D. Hosfeld, David L. Nadolski; Dose-Response; 2016

This case report describes the remarkable improvement in a patient with advanced AD in hospice who received 5 computed tomography scans of the brain, about 40 mGy each, over a period of 3 months. The mechanism appears to be radiation-induced upregulation of the patient’s adaptive protection systems against AD, which partially restored cognition, memory, speech, movement, and appetite.

regulation reform

Time to Reject the Linear-No Threshold Hypothesis and Accept Thresholds and Hormesis: A Petition to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Marcus CS; Clinical Nuclear Medicine; Jul 2015 (Paywalled - link to content)

On February 9, 2015, I submitted a petition to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to reject the linear-no threshold (LNT) hypothesis and ALARA as the bases for radiation safety regulation in the United States, using instead threshold and hormesis evidence. In this article, I will briefly review the history of LNT and its use by regulators, the lack of evidence supporting LNT, and the large body of evidence supporting thresholds and hormesis. Physician acceptance of cancer risk from low dose radiation based upon federal regulatory claims is unfortunate and needs to be reevaluated. This is dangerous to patients and impedes good medical care. A link to my petition is available:, and support by individual physicians once the public comment period begins would be extremely important.

Linear No-Threshold Model and Standards for Protection Against Radiation Federal Register (The Daily Journal of the United States Government)

A Proposed Rule by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on 06/23/2015
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received three petitions for rulemaking (PRM) requesting that the NRC amend its “Standards for Protection Against Radiation” regulations and change the basis of those regulations from the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) model of radiation protection to the radiation hormesis model. The radiation hormesis model provides that exposure of the human body to low levels of ionizing radiation is beneficial and protects the human body against deleterious effects of high levels of radiation. Whereas, the LNT model provides that radiation is always considered harmful, there is no safety threshold, and biological damage caused by ionizing radiation (essentially the cancer risk) is directly proportional to the amount of radiation exposure to the human body (response linearity). The petitions were submitted by Carol S. Marcus, Mark L. Miller, and Mohan Doss (the petitioners), dated February 9, 2015, February 13, 2015, and February 24, 2015, respectively. These petitions were docketed by the NRC on February 20, 2015, February 27, 2015, and March 16, 2015, and have been assigned Docket Numbers. PRM-20-28, PRM-20-29, and PRM-20-30, respectively. The NRC is examining the issues raised in these petitions to determine whether they should be considered in rulemaking. The NRC is requesting public comments on these petitions for rulemaking.

Taiwan Cobalt 60

Effects of cobalt-60 exposure on health of Taiwan residents suggest new approach needed in radiation protection. Chen WL, Luan YC, Shieh MC, Chen ST, Kung HT, Soong KL, Yeh YC, Chou TS, Mong SH, Wu JT, Sun CP, Deng WP, Wu MF, Shen ML; Dose Response (publication of international Hormesis society); 25 Aug 2006

Approximately 10,000 people occupied [] buildings [contaminated with Cobalt-60] and received an average radiation dose of 0.4 Sv, unknowingly, during a 9-20 year period. They did not suffer a higher incidence of cancer mortality, as the LNT theory would predict. On the contrary, the incidence of cancer deaths in this population was greatly reduced-to about 3 per cent of the incidence of spontaneous cancer death in the general Taiwan public. In addition, the incidence of congenital malformations was also reduced--to about 7 per cent of the incidence in the general public. These observations appear to be compatible with the radiation hormesis model.

atomic bomb survivors

Genetic studies at the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission–Radiation Effects Research Foundation: 1946–1997 James V. Neel; PNAS; 12 May 1998


Background Radiation Wikipedia

Hot Spots: Earth’s 5 Most Naturally Radioactive Places Steve; Web Ecoist;

  • Guarapari, Brazil
  • Ramsar, Iran
  • Paralana Hot Springs, Arkaroola, Australia
  • Yangjiang, China
  • Karunagappally, Kerala, India

The Most Radioactive Places on Earth (Veritasium; YouTube; 17 Dec 2014)

Who on Earth is exposed to the most ionizing radiation? I'm filming a documentary for TV about how Uranium and radioactivity have shaped the modern world. It will be broadcast in mid-2015, details to come. The filming took me to the most radioactive places on Earth (and some places, which surprisingly aren't as radioactive as you'd think). Chernobyl and Fukushima were incredible to see as they present post-apocalyptic landscapes. I also visited nuclear power plants, research reactors, Marie Curie's institute, Einstein's apartment, nuclear medicine areas of hospitals, uranium mines, nuclear bomb sites, and interviewed numerous experts.
with sources

Here's Why Every Glass Of Wine You Drink Is Radioactive -- Yes, Really (Quora; Forbes; 2 Feb 2016)

Human exposure to high natural background radiation: what can it teach us about radiation risks? Jolyon H Hendry, Steven L Simon, Andrzej Wojcik, Mehdi Sohrabi, Werner Burkart, Elisabeth Cardis, Dominique Laurier, Margot Tirmarche, and Isamu Hayata

Natural radiation is the major source of human exposure to ionising radiation, and its largest contributing component to effective dose arises from inhalation of 222Rn and its radioactive progeny. However, despite extensive knowledge of radiation risks gained through epidemiologic investigations and mechanistic considerations, the health effects of chronic low-level radiation exposure are still poorly understood. The present paper reviews the possible contribution of studies of populations living in high natural background radiation (HNBR) areas (Guarapari, Brazil; Kerala, India; Ramsar, Iran; Yangjiang, China), including radon-prone areas, to low dose risk estimation. Much of the direct information about risk related to HNBR comes from case–control studies of radon and lung cancer, which provide convincing evidence of an association between long-term protracted radiation exposures in the general population and disease incidence. The success of these studies is mainly due to the careful organ dose reconstruction (with relatively high doses to the lung), and to the fact that large-scale collaborative studies have been conducted to maximise the statistical power and to ensure the systematic collection of information on potential confounding factors. In contrast, studies in other (non-radon) HNBR areas have provided little information, relying mainly on ecological designs and very rough effective dose categorisations. Recent steps taken in China and India to establish cohorts for follow-up and to conduct nested case–control studies may provide useful information about risks in the future, provided that careful organ dose reconstruction is possible and information is collected on potential confounding factors.


Background radiation and cancer incidence in Kerala, India-Karanagappally cohort study Nair RR, Rajan B, Akiba S, Jayalekshmi P, Nair MK, Gangadharan P, Koga T, Morishima H, Nakamura S, Sugahara T.; Health Physics; Jan 2009

Although the statistical power of the study might not be adequate due to the low dose, our cancer incidence study, together with previously reported cancer mortality studies in the [High Background Radiation] area of Yangjiang, China, suggests it is unlikely that estimates of risk at low doses are substantially greater than currently believed.

What can we learn from Kerala Geoff Russell; Brave New Climate blog; 24 Jan 2015

Kerala has a very high rate of background radiation due to sands containing thorium. The level ranges from about 70 percent above the global average to about 30 times the global average. For thousands of years, some of the population of Kerala have been living bathed in radiation at more than triple the level which will get you compulsorily thrown out of your home (evacuation) in Japan. The Japanese have set the maximum annual radiation level at 20 milli Sieverts per year around Fukushima while some parts of Kerala have had a level of 70 milliSieverts per year … for ever.
Scientists have been looking for radiation impacts on Keralites (people from Kerala) for decades. In 1990 a modern cancer registry was established and in 2009 a study reported on the cancer incidence in some 69,958 people followed for an average of over a decade. Radiation dose estimates were made by measuring indoor and outdoor radiation exposure and time spent in and out of doors. They haven’t just been bathing in radioactivity for thousands of years, Keralites have been eating it. An early 1970 study found that people in Kerala were eating about 10 times more radioactivity than people in the US or UK, including alpha particle emitters (from fish).
The cancer incidence rate overall in Kerala is much the same as the overall rate in India; which is about 1/2 that of Japan and less than 1/3rd of the rate in Australia. Some 95 new cancers per 100,000 people per year compared to 323 per 100,000 per year in Australia (age standardised).
Cancer experts know a great deal about the drivers of these huge differences and radiation isn’t on the list.
The Kerala study has several advantages over other studies of low dose radiation. They are dealing with a mainly rural population which is less likely to be exposed to other carcinogens which could complicate the analysis. They are also dealing with a genuinely low rate of radiation exposure. This mirrors what would be the case in Fukushima if the Government hadn’t forcibly moved people. Most radiation protection standards derive from studies of atomic bomb victims who got whatever dose they got in a very short time. They may have got a dose which fits the definition of low (less than 100 millisieverts), but at an extremely rapid rate. Getting bombed just isn’t like living in a slightly elevated radiation field. In Kerala people are getting a low rate for a long time.


VERY HIGH BACKGROUND RADIATION AREAS OF RAMSAR, IRAN: PRELIMINARY BIOLOGICAL STUDIES Ghiassi-nejad, M., Mortazavi, S. M. J., Cameron, J. R., Niroomand-rad, A., Karam, P. A.; Health Physics; Jan 2002 [paywalled]

People in some areas of Ramsar, a city in northern Iran, receive an annual radiation absorbed dose from background radiation that is up to 260 mSv y−1, substantially higher than the 20 mSv y−1 that is permitted for radiation workers. Inhabitants of Ramsar have lived for many generations in these high background areas. Cytogenetic studies show no significant differences between people in the high background compared to people in normal background areas. An in vitro challenge dose of 1.5 Gy of gamma rays was administered to the lymphocytes, which showed significantly reduced frequency for chromosome aberrations of people living in high background compared to those in normal background areas in and near Ramsar. Specifically, inhabitants of high background radiation areas had about 56% the average number of induced chromosomal abnormalities of normal background radiation area inhabitants following this exposure. This suggests that adaptive response might be induced by chronic exposure to natural background radiation as opposed to acute exposure to higher (tens of mGy) levels of radiation in the laboratory. There were no differences in laboratory tests of the immune systems, and no noted differences in hematological alterations between these two groups of people.

childhood cancers

Childhood leukaemia incidence around UK nuclear power plants Department of Health / Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE); 6 May 2011

The aim of this report by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) is to undertake a further review of the incidence of childhood leukaemia in the vicinity of nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Great Britain, with particular reference to recent publications, including the German ‘Kinderkrebs in der Umgebung von Kernkraftwerken’ study and studies from other countries (for example France and Finland), and in relation to the conclusions in the tenth and eleventh COMARE reports. This review considers England, Scotland and Wales, because there are no NPPS in Northern Ireland.

Nuclear power 'not source of leukaemia' NHS choices; 9 May 2011

commentary on COMARE 14th report, and Guardian article quoting it.

Case–control study on childhood cancer in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Germany 1980–2003 Claudia Spix, Sven Schmiedel, Peter Kaatsch, Renate Schulze-Rath, Maria Blettner; European Journal of Cancer; 2007

The 1984 Windscale study raised concern about a possible association between living in the vicinity of nuclear power plants and childhood cancer. No such effect for all cancers was seen in ecological studies in Germany (1980–1995). Results from exploratory analyses led to a new study.
Pre-selected areas around all 16 major nuclear power plants in Germany formed the study area. The design is a matched case–control study; cases are all cancers under five years diagnosed in 1980–2003: 1592 cases, and 4735 controls. Inverse distance of place of residence to the nearest nuclear power plant at the time of diagnosis was used as the independent variable in a conditional logistic regression model.
Results show an increased risk for childhood cancer under five years when living near nuclear power plants in Germany. The inner 5-km zone shows an increased risk (odds ratio 1.47; lower one-sided 95% confidence limit 1.16). The effect was largely restricted to leukaemia.
The results are compatible with the corresponding subgroups in the previous German ecological studies, with which this study shares most of the cases. They contrast with the lack of an effect observed or expected from other studies due to low doses from routine nuclear power plant operation.

Leukaemia in young children in the vicinity of British nuclear power plants: a case–control study J F Bithell, M F G Murphy, C A Stiller, E Toumpakari, T Vincent, R Wakeford; British Journal of Cancer; 12 Sep 2013

  • background: Concern about the risk of leukaemia in children living near nuclear power plants (NPPs) persists. Previous British analyses have been area based and consequently thought to be less effective than case–control studies.
  • methods: Cases of childhood leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (LNHL) born and diagnosed in Great Britain between 1962 and 2007, with matched cancer-free controls, were analysed by logistic regression to estimate the risk of residential proximity at birth and diagnosis to the nearest NPP, adjusting for relevant variables.
  • results: For 9821 children with LNHL under the age of 5 years, the estimated extra risk associated with residential proximity to an NPP at birth was negative—interpolated Odds Ratio (OR) at 5 km was 0.86 (0.49–1.52). The comparison of 10 618 children with LNHL under five with 16 760 similarly aged children with other cancers also gave a negative estimate of the extra risk of residential proximity at diagnosis—interpolated OR at 5 km was 0.86 (0.62–1.18).
  • conclusion: Our results show little evidence of an increase in risk of LNHL to children aged under 5 years from living in the vicinity of an NPP. Risk estimates are incompatible with comparable ones published in a recent German case–control study.

'No link' between nuclear plants and child cancer NHS choices; 13 Sep 2013

article based on the Bithell et al study

Philip Thomas / NREFS

Professor Philip Thomas

The J-value Risk Assessment Tool and its application to big nuclear accidents

NREFS: Management of Nuclear Risk Issues: Environmental, Financial and Safety

Geraldine Thomas

Professor Geraldine Thomas wikipedia

video of lecture (with Q&A) at the CDT Festival of Science 2015 at Imperial College London

Look at the science – smoking and obesity are more harmful than radiation Geraldine Thomas; Guardian; 26 Apr 2011

Chernobyl and the WW2 bombs should have taught us about how dangerous nuclear really is, but it continues to be hyped up

radiation released from nuclear v. coal

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive Than Nuclear Waste Mara Hvistendahl; Scientific American; 13 Dec 2007

By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiation
based on 1978 paper for Science, J. P. McBride at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Radiological Impact of Airborne Effluents of Coal-Fired and Nuclear Power Plants J. P. McBride, R. E. Moore, J. P. Witherspoon, R. E. Blanco; ORNL Chemical Technology Division; Aug 1977

Nuclear proliferation through coal burning Gordon J. Aubrecht, II; Physics Education Research Group, Department of Physics, Ohio State University; 25 May 2003

page 8
The EPA found slightly higher average coal concentrations than used by McBride et al. of 1.3 ppm and 3.2 ppm, respectively. Gabbard (A. Gabbard, “Coal combustion: nuclear resource or danger?,” ORNL Review 26, finds that American releases from each typical 1 GWe coal plant in 1982 were 4.7 tonnes of uranium and 11.6 tonnes of thorium, for a total national release of 727 tonnes of uranium and 1788 tonnes of thorium. The total release of radioactivity from coal-fired fossil fuel was 97.3 TBq (9.73 x 1013 Bq) that year. This compares to the total release of 0.63 TBq (6.3 x 1011 Bq) from the notorious TMI accident, 155 times smaller.
The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) similarly found that population exposure from operation of comparable (1 GWe) nuclear and coal-fired power plants was 4.9 personSv/yr for coal plants and 4.8 x 10-2 person-Sv/yr for nuclear plants, a factor of ~100 greater for the coal-fired plants.
A single 1 GWe coal-fired plant causes 25 fatalities, 60,000 cases of respiratory disease, and $12 million in property damage, as well as emitting an amount of NOx equivalent to 20,000 cars per year. It also produces ashes and sludge.


There's no Thyroid cancer epidemic in Fukushima

The Linear No Threshold hypothesis is extremely difficult to test below levels quite a bit above typical background levels because it predicts effects in terms of rates of cancers so much lower than occur naturally anyway that rates of radiation-induced cancers down in the "noise" of normal variability and confounding effects, such as especially inaccuracies in reported levels of smoking earlier in subjects' lives.

Study of workers in nuclear industry

Researchers pin down risks of low-dose radiation Alison Abbott; Nature News; 8 Jul 2015

"Large study of nuclear workers shows that even tiny doses slightly boost risk of leukaemia
"A landmark international study has now provided the strongest support yet for the idea that long-term exposure to low-dose radiation increases the risk of leukaemia, although the rise is only minuscule"
study of workers in the nuclear industry whose exposure (at work) is monitored by dosimeters, claims increased risks of leukaemia, but as the comments to the article point out there are possible flaws in these findings.

Genetic factors in radiation susceptibility

There is evidence that individuals' susceptibility to cancer from low-dose radiation depends on genetic factors.

New Clues About the Risk of Cancer From Low-dose Radiation: Berkeley Lab research could lead to ways to ID people particularly susceptible to cancer


Identification of genetic loci that control mammary tumor susceptibility through the host microenvironment Pengju Zhang et al; Scientific Reports; 9 Mar 2015

Treatment for radiation exposure

Pectin "cure"


Comparison of Prussian blue and apple-pectin efficacy on 137Cs decorporation in rats. Le Gall B, Taran F, Renault D, Wilk JC, Ansoborlo E.; Biochimie; Nov 2006

Cesium-137 (137Cs) is one of the most important nuclear fission elements that contaminated the environment after the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (1986). The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy of two chelating agent, Prussian blue and apple-pectin on 137cesium decorporation in rats. Rats were intravenously injected with a solution of 137cesium (5 kBq per rat). Chelating agents, Prussian blue or apple-pectin were given immediately after Cs contamination and during 11 days by addition of each chelating agent in drinking water at a concentration corresponding to 400 mg kg(-1) day(-1). Efficiency was evaluated 11 days after contamination (at the end of treatment) through their ability to promote Cs excretion and to reduce the radionuclide accumulation in some retention compartments (blood, liver, kidneys, spleen, skeleton and in the remaining carcass). In these conditions after treatment with Prussian blue a fivefold increase in fecal excretion of Cs was observed and was associated with a reduction in the radionuclide retention in the main organs measured. In contrast, no significant differences were observed between untreated rats and rats treated with apple-pectin. These observations were discussed in terms of ability of pectins to bind Cs and compared to recently published results obtained after treatment of Cs-contaminated children with this chelate.