The research, published online today in BioMedCentral Public Health, compares the health risks from radiation exposure following the Chernobyl incident with the more common risks of air pollution, passive smoking and obesity. All of the risks studied showed a relatively small increase (around 1%) in mortality rates.
Dr Jim Smith from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, who carried out the research, said, “The perception is that there are big risks to public health from radiation exposure. This study shows that for the population exposed to significant doses of radiation from the Chernobyl incident, the risks of premature death are no greater than those of being subjected to prolonged passive smoking, or of constantly over-eating. We can all face such health risks just going about our ordinary daily lives.”
Dr Smith has worked in the contaminated Chernobyl exclusion zone and has found that wildlife thrives in that region. Some people still living there unofficially are surviving well into their seventies.
Dr Smith said, “One of my reasons for comparing everyday risks with those of radiation contamination was the way in which contaminated Chernobyl refugees felt rejected by society. Our understandable fear of radiation needs to be placed in the context of other risks we encounter in our daily lives if we are to properly understand, and respond to, the potential impacts of any future radiation incidents.”
There are significant uncertainties in the calculation of health risks for all of the risk factors studied by a factor of two or so higher or lower. All of the risk factors studied have impacts on morbidity (illness) as well as mortality.
Marion O'Sullivan | alfa
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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