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Radiological Risk Assessment and Environmental Analysis$
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John E. Till and Helen Grogan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195127270

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195127270.001.0001

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The Risks from Exposure to Ionizing Radiation

The Risks from Exposure to Ionizing Radiation

(p.531) 12 The Risks from Exposure to Ionizing Radiation
Radiological Risk Assessment and Environmental Analysis

Roger H. Clarke

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses human health risk resulting from exposure to ionizing radiation. Since the book is concerned with environmental risk assessment, which does not normally involve deterministic risks, the emphasis of this chapter is on stochastic effects of exposure: cancer and hereditary risks. Risk coefficients can be applied to estimates of dose to specific organs of the body. The chapter reviews the evolution of risk coefficients from early epidemiological data to more recent scientific studies. The strengths and weaknesses of these studies are also discussed. It is pointed out that ongoing and future studies in epidemiology and animal sciences will likely not resolve the uncertainties surrounding the effects in humans of low-dose radiation. Accordingly, there will be an increasing need for weight-of-evidence judgments based on largely qualitative data from cellular or molecular studies.

Keywords:   risk, human health risk, cancer risk, stochastic effects, risk uncertainty, ionizing radiation, risk coefficients, low-dose radiation

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