Is there a safe doses of radiation for humans? Experts say they simply don’t know.
Speaking at a conference in Dublin, US, radiation expert Otto Raabe of the University of California at Davis disputed the fact that there are no safe levels of radiation.
Raabe believes that the body’s cells efficiently repair DNA breaks caused by exposure to radiation and that past cautions were based on simplistic theory. His point of view was supported by other experts at the conference. The experts’ optimism, however, has serious implications for consumers since regulators rely on such opinions when setting standards for radiation exposure from, for instance, medical equipment.
And those who think beer is good for them might reconsider; many beers use a barley variety carrying a mutation induced by irradiation in 1965, said Beant Ahloowahlia of the Irish food development agency. In all, 2000 crops, ornamental plants and new plant species have been developed by radiation or chemically induced mutagenesis (Lancet, 1999; 354: 400).