Health effects of ionising radiation

Summary of expert meeting in Ulm, Germany, October 19th, 2013

On October 19th, 2013, the German and Swiss affiliates of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) invited physicians and scientists from the fields of radiobiology, epidemiology, statistics and physics to an expert meeting in the city of Ulm, the birthplace of Albert Einstein. The participants discussed current scientific evidence relating to the health effects of ionising radiation, especially in the area of low-dose radiation.
The group of experts concluded that a revision of existing radiation protection guidelines is essential in order to reflect the current level of scientific knowledge. Ionising radiation can cause discernible detrimental health effects, some of which can be predicted and quantified using models from epidemiological data. In the past, health risk assessment of ionising radiation has been based on studies performed on survivors of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, this reference group can no longer be considered suitable in the light of new statistical evidence. Even very low doses of radiation can cause disease.

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