Current research evidence about health problems from radiation - by Dr Margaret Beavis (May 2014)

This plain language fact sheet outlines current research evidence about health problems from radiation

 Executive Summary

  • Even at low doses of radiation there is clear evidence of increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. There is no safe lower dose.
  • The risk of increased cancers has been clearly shown in studies with very large numbers of people: Workers in the nuclear industry, children having CT Scans, survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, mine workers and householders exposed to raised levels of radon gas and in unborn children when their mothers had had abdominal X-rays.
  • The risk of death from cardiovascular diseases is similar to that of dying of cancer, and the role of radiation causing other types of illness is currently being researched. As a result the overall excess risk of dying from exposure to low doses of radiation may be twice (or more) than that currently assumed from cancer alone.
  • The trend in research over the last couple of decades, as each bit of new evidence emerges, is that the risks are greater than previously thought. There is now clear evidence that low dose exposures are harmful, and the greater the exposure the greater the risk.