John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Epidemiologic data on the carcinogenic effects of low doses of ionizing radiation Volume 4, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2005

Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM) U605, Institut Gustave Roussy, 39, rue Camille Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif cedex
  • Key words: dose-response relationship, radiation, epidemiology, linear models, neoplasms, radiation-induced, radiation, ionizing
  • Page(s) : 283-93
  • Published in: 2005

Despite the many epidemiologic studies on the topic, assessment of low doses of ionizing radiation, that is, less than 100 mSv, continues to involve numerous uncertainties. Direct estimates of dose-effect relations within each study for doses less than 100 mSv are impossible. We systematically enumerate here the surveys published on the effects of doses less than 100 mSv and distinguish among them those for which it is possible (or was possible after contact with the authors) to compare subjects who received less than 100 mSv with those who received very low doses, on the order of 5-10 mSv, from studies in which comparisons can be made only by reference to the "general population". Our analysis did not show any evidence of a carcinogenic effect on the general population of doses of low linear energy transfer (low-LET) ionizing radiation (electrons, X rays or gamma rays) less than 100 mSv. Uncertainty nonetheless persists about the risks associated with low radon concentrations in homes.