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Title: HELLE: Health Effects of Low Level Exposures/ Gezondheidseffecten van lage blootstellingniveaus [International workshop: Influence of low level exposures to chemicals and radiation on human and ecological health]

Abstract

The Health Council is closely involved in establishing the scientific foundation of exposure limits for substances and radiation in order to protect public health. Through the years, the Council has contributed to the formulation of principles and procedures, both for carcinogenic and for noncarcinogenic agents. As a rule, the discussion with regard to the derivation of health-based recommended exposure limits centers around the appropriateness of extrapolation methods (What can be inferred from data on high exposure levels and on experimental animals?). Generally speaking, there is a lack of direct information on the health effects of low levels of exposure. Effects at these levels cannot usually be detected by means of traditional animal experiments or epidemiological research. The capacity of these analytical instruments to distinguish between ''signal'' and ''noise'' is inadequate in most cases. Annex B of this report contains a brief outline of the difficulties and the established methods for tackling this problem. In spite of this, the hope exists that the posited weak signals, if they are indeed present, can be detected by other means. The search will have to take place on a deeper level. In other words, effort must be made to discover what occurs at underlyingmore » levels of biological organization when organisms are exposed to low doses of radiation or substances. Molecular and cell biology provide various methods and techniques which give an insight into the processes within the cell. This results in an increase in the knowledge about the molecular and cellular effects of exposure to agents, or stated differently, the working mechanisms which form the basis of the health effects. Last year, the Health Council considered that the time was ripe to take stock of the state of knowledge in this field. To this end, an international working conference was held from 19 to 21 October 1997, entitled ''Health Effects of Low Level Exposures: Scientific Developments and Perspectives for Risk Assessment''. The central question was the extent to which the sometimes fast-growing knowledge about molecular and cellular effects offers the desired basis for extrapolation. Against this setting, a number of more specific questions which have been hotly debated for some time were also addressed. One of the primary questions concerned the traditional but increasingly questioned division between stochastic and non-stochastic working agents, and the corresponding division between exposure-effect relations without a threshold and with a threshold. Thoughts were also exchanged on what is often referred to as hormesis: the notion that low levels of exposure could actually improve health. For the purpose of illuminating the many aspects of these issues, experts from a number of areas were invited. In addition to this, three agents were selected to serve as points of crystallization for the general debate: ionizing radiation, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and dioxins. The present report calls attention to a selection of issues which emerged during the discussions on the above-mentioned central topic. Various more detailed questions and the wider context of the points considered are described at greater length in the enclosed conference report and in the background documents attached to the report. What follows is a series of considerations regarding the scientific basis for the derivation of recommended exposure levels, viewed in the light of current procedures and against the background of the work of the Health Council. In the preparation of the following comments and recommendations, various Dutch experts have been consulted.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
The Netherlands Health Council, The Hague (NL)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Research (ER) (US)
OSTI Identifier:
765246
DOE Contract Number:
FG02-97ER62394
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 26 Nov 1998
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGANISMS AND BIOLOGICAL MATERIALS; ANIMALS; CRYSTALLIZATION; IONIZING RADIATIONS; PUBLIC HEALTH; RECOMMENDATIONS; HEALTH HAZARDS; RADIATION DOSES; CHEMICAL EFFLUENTS

Citation Formats

Schoten, Eert. HELLE: Health Effects of Low Level Exposures/ Gezondheidseffecten van lage blootstellingniveaus [International workshop: Influence of low level exposures to chemicals and radiation on human and ecological health]. United States: N. p., 1998. Web. doi:10.2172/765246.
Schoten, Eert. HELLE: Health Effects of Low Level Exposures/ Gezondheidseffecten van lage blootstellingniveaus [International workshop: Influence of low level exposures to chemicals and radiation on human and ecological health]. United States. doi:10.2172/765246.
Schoten, Eert. Thu . "HELLE: Health Effects of Low Level Exposures/ Gezondheidseffecten van lage blootstellingniveaus [International workshop: Influence of low level exposures to chemicals and radiation on human and ecological health]". United States. doi:10.2172/765246. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/765246.
@article{osti_765246,
title = {HELLE: Health Effects of Low Level Exposures/ Gezondheidseffecten van lage blootstellingniveaus [International workshop: Influence of low level exposures to chemicals and radiation on human and ecological health]},
author = {Schoten, Eert},
abstractNote = {The Health Council is closely involved in establishing the scientific foundation of exposure limits for substances and radiation in order to protect public health. Through the years, the Council has contributed to the formulation of principles and procedures, both for carcinogenic and for noncarcinogenic agents. As a rule, the discussion with regard to the derivation of health-based recommended exposure limits centers around the appropriateness of extrapolation methods (What can be inferred from data on high exposure levels and on experimental animals?). Generally speaking, there is a lack of direct information on the health effects of low levels of exposure. Effects at these levels cannot usually be detected by means of traditional animal experiments or epidemiological research. The capacity of these analytical instruments to distinguish between ''signal'' and ''noise'' is inadequate in most cases. Annex B of this report contains a brief outline of the difficulties and the established methods for tackling this problem. In spite of this, the hope exists that the posited weak signals, if they are indeed present, can be detected by other means. The search will have to take place on a deeper level. In other words, effort must be made to discover what occurs at underlying levels of biological organization when organisms are exposed to low doses of radiation or substances. Molecular and cell biology provide various methods and techniques which give an insight into the processes within the cell. This results in an increase in the knowledge about the molecular and cellular effects of exposure to agents, or stated differently, the working mechanisms which form the basis of the health effects. Last year, the Health Council considered that the time was ripe to take stock of the state of knowledge in this field. To this end, an international working conference was held from 19 to 21 October 1997, entitled ''Health Effects of Low Level Exposures: Scientific Developments and Perspectives for Risk Assessment''. The central question was the extent to which the sometimes fast-growing knowledge about molecular and cellular effects offers the desired basis for extrapolation. Against this setting, a number of more specific questions which have been hotly debated for some time were also addressed. One of the primary questions concerned the traditional but increasingly questioned division between stochastic and non-stochastic working agents, and the corresponding division between exposure-effect relations without a threshold and with a threshold. Thoughts were also exchanged on what is often referred to as hormesis: the notion that low levels of exposure could actually improve health. For the purpose of illuminating the many aspects of these issues, experts from a number of areas were invited. In addition to this, three agents were selected to serve as points of crystallization for the general debate: ionizing radiation, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and dioxins. The present report calls attention to a selection of issues which emerged during the discussions on the above-mentioned central topic. Various more detailed questions and the wider context of the points considered are described at greater length in the enclosed conference report and in the background documents attached to the report. What follows is a series of considerations regarding the scientific basis for the derivation of recommended exposure levels, viewed in the light of current procedures and against the background of the work of the Health Council. In the preparation of the following comments and recommendations, various Dutch experts have been consulted.},
doi = {10.2172/765246},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Nov 26 00:00:00 EST 1998},
month = {Thu Nov 26 00:00:00 EST 1998}
}

Technical Report:

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