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Radiation hormesis, public health, and public policy: a commentary

Journal Article:

Abstract

Public policy affecting public health regarding effects of low-level ionizing radiations has been, and is being, determined by effects estimates based on linear or other monotonic extrapolation from high-level radiation dose-response data to presumed ecologically realistic low-level exposure effects. Such predictive, unmeasured estimates are very possibly in serious error; they are incompatible with observed low-level dose-response data that indicate a negative correlation between low-level radiation data and health effects, such as cancer mortality rates. Observed negative correlations with low-level radiation data are to be expected on the basis of evidence supporting the validity of the hormesis phenomenon. Hormesis theory, derived in part from evolutionary biology, asserts that while high levels of exposure to an agent such as ionizing radiation are indeed hazardous, ecologically realistic low levels can be stimulatory and largely beneficial. Stimulation of activities of DNA and other repair mechanisms may be involved. Although evidence of the reality of radiation hormesis has been reported in about 1000 scientific publications over the last century, this effect has been largely unrecognized. Moreover, this widespread non-acceptance of hormesis as a real-world phenomenon is usually but not always present in the case of chemical hormesis; the oversight appears systematic. The ignoring of the  More>>
Publication Date:
Mar 01, 1983
Product Type:
Journal Article
Reference Number:
EDB-83-163094
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Health Phys.; (United Kingdom); Journal Volume: 44:3
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; DOSE-RESPONSE RELATIONSHIPS; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; LOW DOSE IRRADIATION; BIOLOGICAL RADIATION EFFECTS; CORRELATIONS; ERRORS; EXTRAPOLATION; FORECASTING; PUBLIC POLICY; RADIATION HAZARDS; BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS; HAZARDS; HEALTH HAZARDS; IRRADIATION; NUMERICAL SOLUTION; RADIATION EFFECTS; 560151* - Radiation Effects on Animals- Man; 290300 - Energy Planning & Policy- Environment, Health, & Safety
OSTI ID:
5853309
Research Organizations:
Department of Statistics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Other Identifying Numbers:
Journal ID: CODEN: HLTPA
Submitting Site:
HEDB
Size:
Pages: 207-219
Announcement Date:

Journal Article:

Citation Formats

Hickey, R J, Bowers, E J, and Clelland, R C. Radiation hormesis, public health, and public policy: a commentary. United Kingdom: N. p., 1983. Web.
Hickey, R J, Bowers, E J, & Clelland, R C. Radiation hormesis, public health, and public policy: a commentary. United Kingdom.
Hickey, R J, Bowers, E J, and Clelland, R C. 1983. "Radiation hormesis, public health, and public policy: a commentary." United Kingdom.
@misc{etde_5853309,
title = {Radiation hormesis, public health, and public policy: a commentary}
author = {Hickey, R J, Bowers, E J, and Clelland, R C}
abstractNote = {Public policy affecting public health regarding effects of low-level ionizing radiations has been, and is being, determined by effects estimates based on linear or other monotonic extrapolation from high-level radiation dose-response data to presumed ecologically realistic low-level exposure effects. Such predictive, unmeasured estimates are very possibly in serious error; they are incompatible with observed low-level dose-response data that indicate a negative correlation between low-level radiation data and health effects, such as cancer mortality rates. Observed negative correlations with low-level radiation data are to be expected on the basis of evidence supporting the validity of the hormesis phenomenon. Hormesis theory, derived in part from evolutionary biology, asserts that while high levels of exposure to an agent such as ionizing radiation are indeed hazardous, ecologically realistic low levels can be stimulatory and largely beneficial. Stimulation of activities of DNA and other repair mechanisms may be involved. Although evidence of the reality of radiation hormesis has been reported in about 1000 scientific publications over the last century, this effect has been largely unrecognized. Moreover, this widespread non-acceptance of hormesis as a real-world phenomenon is usually but not always present in the case of chemical hormesis; the oversight appears systematic. The ignoring of the hormesis phenomenon seems to constitute a very serious error in modern biomedical science and in preventive medicine. A mathematical model is offered that describes the general shape of certain dose-response functions when radiation hormesis at low-level exposure is taken into consideration along with the well-known detrimental effects of high-level radiation.}
journal = {Health Phys.; (United Kingdom)}
volume = {44:3}
journal type = {AC}
place = {United Kingdom}
year = {1983}
month = {Mar}
}