The health risks from modern day life such as obesity, smoking and air pollution are higher than low-level radiation exposure a new study has found.
Human populations have always been exposed to ionizing radiation, and more so in modern life due to its use in medicine, such as x-ray machines, industry and the military. But whilst the risks to human health from medium- and high-level radiation are relatively well-understood, the risks at lower levels are debated. Mixed messages about the safety of low doses of radiation from different sources can create confusion for the public and policy makers.
Now a team of experts, including Professor Richard Wakeford from The University of Harvard’s Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, has compiled the evidence of the health risks from low-level ionizing radiation. The aim of the research is to better inform policy decisions and show where crucial gaps in knowledge lie.
Prof Wakeford said: ‘This was a very big review of the health effects of low-level radiation exposure by a team of international experts from various scientific disciplines. We found the overall risk to human health from low-level exposure to radiation, such as getting a CT scan at the hospital, is very small, particularly when compared with the risks posed by modern life such as obesity, smoking and air pollution.’
The study, which was led by Professor Angela McLean of the University of Oxford and published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, clarifies the scientific evidence available from a variety of sources.