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BOOKLET to Provide Basic Information Regarding Health Effects of Radiation (2nd edition)

Biological Aspect

Biological Aspect_Figure

One of the aims of the ICRP Recommendations is to provide considerations and assumptions for building a radiological protection system, thereby preventing the occurrence of deterministic effects (tissue reactions). The ICRP recommends the introduction of protection measures in cases where annual doses have increased close to 100 mGy (‚Čí100 mSv), which is the minimum threshold.

The probability of stochastic effects is very low in the case of annual doses below approx. 100 mSv, and the linear non-threshold (LNT) model, which is based on the assumption that the occurrence of stochastic effects increases in proportion to increases in radiation doses exceeding background doses, is considered to be practical for the management of radiological protection at low doses and low dose rates, and also preferable from the viewpoint of the precautionary principle.

While the ICRP uses, as the grounds for its recommendations, the data for atomic bomb survivors, which is the data concerning a single exposure, what should be controlled is mostly a long-term gradual exposure. Therefore, the ICRP makes adjustments to offset mitigated effects due to low doses and low dose rates. Various values have been reported as a result of animal testing and experiments using human cells to induce chromosomal abnormalities or mutations, but the dose and dose-rate effectiveness factor for radiological protection has been defined as 2 (p.116 of Vol. 1, "Cancer-promoting Effects of Low-dose Exposures"). In other words, if the total exposure dose is the same, long-term low-dose exposure would cause half the effects as those caused by exposure at one time.

As a result of the abovementioned adjustments, risks of fatal cancer are considered to increase by approx. 5% per sievert at low doses and low dose rates.

(Related to p.86 of Vol. 1, "Deterministic Effects (Tissue Reactions) and Stochastic Effects")

  • Included in this reference material on March 31, 2013
  • Updated on March 31, 2021
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