The current system of radiation protection for humans is based on the linear-nothreshold (LNT) risk-assessment paradigm. Perceived harm to irradiated nuclear workers and the public is mainly reflected through calculated hypothetical increased cancers. The LNT-based system of protection employs easy-to-implement measures of radiation exposure. Such measures include the equivalent dose (a biological-damage-potential-weighted measure) and the effective dose (equivalent dose multiplied by a tissue-specific relative sensitivity factor for stochastic effects). These weighted doses have special units such as the sievert (Sv) and millisievert (mSv, one thousandth of a sievert). Radiation-induced harm is controlled via enforcing exposure limits expressed as effective dose. Expected cancer cases can be easily computed based on the summed effective dose (person-sievert) for an irradiated group or population. Yet the current system of radiation protection needs revision because radiation-induced natural protection (hormesis) has been neglected. A novel, nonlinear, hormetic relative risk model for radiation-induced cancers is discussed in the context of establishing new radiation exposure limits for nuclear workers and the public.
Scott, Bobby R
"IT’S TIME FOR A NEW LOW-DOSE-RADIATION RISK ASSESSMENT PARADIGM—ONE THAT ACKNOWLEDGES HORMESIS,"
Dose-Response: An International Journal: Vol. 6
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dose_response/vol6/iss4/4