Radiation Health Risks Revisited

Health Effects of ionizing radiation remains a topic that needs serious attention.   Do health effects occur in a linear relationship to dose?  That is the position of the BEIR Committee of the National Academy of Sciences.  Some researchers argue that there could be a beneficial effect to low dose exposure, and others argue against it.  Whether the curve is linear or supralinear or superlinear has also been a matter of discussion for years.  Others argue that, as with sunlight exposure, genetic differences in people can make some population groups more or less vulnerable.   Ian Goddard has done an independent analysis of the risk models that is interesting and informative.  Expect the debate to continue into coming decades.  I recommend that people inform themselves by looking at the various viewpoints to get perspective on risk, especially people working in industries where exposure is part of the job.  And remember to err on the side of safety when handling or working around radioactive materials.  Carry a radiation detector and pay attention to it.  Let’s have a  safe and healthy 2016!

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