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PERSPECTIVE ON THE USE OF LNT FOR RADIATION PROTECTION AND RISK ASSESSMENT BY THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Abstract
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bases its risk assessments, regulatory limits, and nonregulatory guidelines for population exposures to low level ionizing radiation on the linear no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis, which assumes that the risk of cancer due to a low dose exposure is proportional to dose, with no threshold. The use of LNT for radiation protection purposes has been repeatedly endorsed by authoritative scientific advisory bodies, including the National Academy of Sciences’ BEIR Committees, whose recommendations form a primary basis of EPA’s risk assessment methodology. Although recent radiobiological findings indicate novel damage and repair processes at low doses, LNT is supported by data from both epidemiology and radiobiology. Given the current state of the science, the consensus positions of key scientific and governmental bodies, as well as the conservatism and calculational convenience of the LNT assumption, it is unlikely that EPA will modify this approach in the near future.
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Date
2009-12-01
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