29 June 2005

Ionizing Radiation Causes Cancer???

Really? And all these years, we all thought it was o.k. to bombard your cells with ionizing radiation.
Even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer over a person's lifetime, a
National Academy of Sciences panel concluded. It rejected some scientists' arguments that tiny doses are harmless or may in fact be beneficial.

The findings, disclosed in a report Wednesday, could influence the maximum radiation levels that are allowed at abandoned reactors and other nuclear sites and raises warnings about excessive exposure to radiation for medical purposes such as repeated whole-body CT scans.

"It is unlikely that there is a threshold (of radiation exposure) below which cancers are not induced," the scientists said.

While at low doses "the number of radiation-induced cancers will be small ... as the overall lifetime exposure increases, so does the risk," the experts said.

Even common X-rays pose some risk of adverse health effects, the scientists found, although the panel said there was not enough information available to accurately estimate the cancer risk from X-rays. Nevertheless, the report said, there is evidence that per unit of absorbed radiation, X-rays may be more dangerous than other radiation.

The panel also said that approximately one person out of 1,000 would develop cancer from exposure to the amount of radiation from a single, average whole body CT-scan.
Funny, just a few days ago I had a conversation with my Father regarding the old foot x-ray machines that used to be in most major shoe stores. Thousands of kids, mostly boys, played on those things for hours -- at least that's what I am told. I can hear Fathers all across America, "That feeling is perfectly normal son, just a phase you're going through."

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