Throughout our life, we are exposed daily to ionizing radiation (IR) emitted by Earth, during routine medical diagnosis exams, or in the workplace for professionals such as nuclear workers but also cabin crew members of airline companies. How aware is the public of being exposed to low doses of IR? Accounting for about 2,4 mSv/year/person, these unperceived exposures to IR are considered harmless by radiation protection standards based on biological effects the current state of science allows to detect...
But how to be sure that what you can not see does not exist? Part of the answer is expected to come from European research project RISC-RAD (Radiosensitivity of Individuals and Susceptibility to Cancer induced by Ionizing Radiations), which just held its midterm meeting in Leiden, The Netherlands, from 4 to 6 May 2006. This four-year project funded by the European Commission (EC) started on 1st January 2004 and addresses the challenging issue of cancer risk assessment at low doses of IR.
“Under the dose of 100 mSv, epidemiological studies failed to demonstrate long term effects on organisms of exposure to ionizing radiations, because, if they exist, these effects are masked by the high cancer incidence of 25 % in the population”, explains Laure Sabatier, coordinator of RISC-RAD and head of the Radiobiology and Oncology Lab in the French Atomic Energy Commission. “This is why a biological approach is needed, starting with improving our understanding of the mechanisms by which ionizing radiation induce cancer”. Ionizing radiation act as a stress on cells, provoking immediate lesions on DNA double-helix, including strand breaks associated with base modifications. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, long term effects of exposure to IR are known to be cancers.
Axel Meunier | alfa
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