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Title: Medical radiation exposure and genetic risks

Abstract

Everyone is exposed to background radiation throughout life (100 mrem/year to the gonads or 4 to 5 rem during the reproductive years). A lumbosacral series might deliver 2500 mrem to the male or 400 mrem to the female gonads. A radiologic procedure is a cost/benefit decision, and genetic risk is a part of the cost. Although cost is usually very low compared to benefit, if the procedure is unnecessary then the cost may be unacceptable. On the basis of current estimates, the doubling dose is assumed to be 40 rem (range 20 to 200) for an acute dose, and 100 rem for protracted exposure. Although there is no satisfactory way to predict the size of the risk for an individual exposed, any risk should be incentive to avoid unnecessary radiation to the gonads. Conception should be delayed for at least ten months for women and three or four months for men after irradiation of the gonads. The current incidence of genetically related diseases in the United States population is 60,000 per million live births. Based on the most conservative set of assumptions, an average gonadal dose of 1000 mrem to the whole population would increase the incidence of genetically relatedmore » diseases by 0.2%.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Virginia Hospital, Charlottesville
OSTI Identifier:
6839244
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: South. Med. J.; (United States); Journal Volume: 73:No. 9
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; 62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; FEMALE GENITALS; GENETIC RADIATION EFFECTS; MALE GENITALS; RADIOTHERAPY; SIDE EFFECTS; GENETICALLY SIGNIFICANT DOSE; MUTAGENESIS; MUTATION FREQUENCY; PATIENTS; PREVENTIVE MEDICINE; RADIATION DOSES; REPRODUCTION; BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; BIOLOGICAL RADIATION EFFECTS; BODY; DOSES; GENETIC EFFECTS; MEDICINE; NUCLEAR MEDICINE; ORGANS; RADIATION EFFECTS; RADIOLOGY; THERAPY 560151* -- Radiation Effects on Animals-- Man; 550603 -- Medicine-- External Radiation in Therapy-- (1980-)

Citation Formats

Baker, D.G. Medical radiation exposure and genetic risks. United States: N. p., 1980. Web. doi:10.1097/00007611-198009000-00023.
Baker, D.G. Medical radiation exposure and genetic risks. United States. doi:10.1097/00007611-198009000-00023.
Baker, D.G. 1980. "Medical radiation exposure and genetic risks". United States. doi:10.1097/00007611-198009000-00023.
@article{osti_6839244,
title = {Medical radiation exposure and genetic risks},
author = {Baker, D.G.},
abstractNote = {Everyone is exposed to background radiation throughout life (100 mrem/year to the gonads or 4 to 5 rem during the reproductive years). A lumbosacral series might deliver 2500 mrem to the male or 400 mrem to the female gonads. A radiologic procedure is a cost/benefit decision, and genetic risk is a part of the cost. Although cost is usually very low compared to benefit, if the procedure is unnecessary then the cost may be unacceptable. On the basis of current estimates, the doubling dose is assumed to be 40 rem (range 20 to 200) for an acute dose, and 100 rem for protracted exposure. Although there is no satisfactory way to predict the size of the risk for an individual exposed, any risk should be incentive to avoid unnecessary radiation to the gonads. Conception should be delayed for at least ten months for women and three or four months for men after irradiation of the gonads. The current incidence of genetically related diseases in the United States population is 60,000 per million live births. Based on the most conservative set of assumptions, an average gonadal dose of 1000 mrem to the whole population would increase the incidence of genetically related diseases by 0.2%.},
doi = {10.1097/00007611-198009000-00023},
journal = {South. Med. J.; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 73:No. 9,
place = {United States},
year = 1980,
month = 9
}
  • Efforts at protecting people against the harmful effects of radiation had their beginnings in the early 1900s with the intent of protecting individuals in medicine and associated professions. Such efforts remain vital for all of us more than 100 years later as part of our 'learning to live with ionizing radiation.' The field of radiation protection has evolved slowly over time with advances in knowledge on hereditary (i.e., genetic) and carcinogenic effects of radiation continually improving our ability to make informed judgments about how best to balance risks against benefits of radiation exposure. This paper examines just one aspect ofmore » these efforts, namely, how advances in knowledge of genetic effects of radiation have impacted on the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The focus is on the period from the mid-1950s (when genetic risk estimates were first made) to 2007. This article offers a detailed historical analysis and personal perspective, and concludes with a synopsis of key developments in radiation protection.« less
  • After considering all the evidence related to the health effects of exposure to low levels of radiation, it is apparent that the risk is immeasurably small to any single person in a population exposed to small amounts of radiation. However, multiplying this immeasurably small estimate of risk by very large populations yields numbers that seem to imply that significant health effects (cancer, malformations, genetic effects) occur following exposure to small quantities of radiation. Although many advisory groups have cautioned against this procedure and conclusion, both continue to be used by some scientists and political action groups. In a public opinionmore » poll conducted by Decision Research, Inc. of Eugene, Oregon, three groups were asked to rank the relative risks of various societal activities. Two of the three groups ranked nuclear power as the most hazardous of all societal activities, with a risk factor greater than that for smoking, automobiles, handguns and alcohol. Actually, nuclear power is the least hazardous of all 30 of the activities included in the poll. It is a conservative posture and probably a wise course of action to assume that exposure to any amount of radiation carries with it some element of risk. For example, requests for x-ray studies and nuclear medicine procedures should always be accompanied by an appreciation of the possibility of risk to the patient and to radiological personnel. At the same time, this element of risk should be placed in a realistic perspective by comparing it with other risks we assume every day. (JMT)« less