Study blasts agenciesfor radiation standards

March 1, 2009
Diagnostic Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging Vol 31 No 4, Volume 31, Issue 4

A study from the Institute for Energy and Environment Research blasted U.S. regulators for relying on radiation protection rules that underestimate exposure risks for women and children because they are based on standards of a “reference man,” a hypothetical 20 to 30-year-old white male.

A study from the Institute for Energy and Environment Research blasted U.S. regulators for relying on radiation protection rules that underestimate exposure risks for women and children because they are based on standards of a “reference man,” a hypothetical 20 to 30-year-old white male.

At least three federal agencies-the Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Department of Energy-still use reference-man criteria to guide radiation dose regulations and compliance assessment. According to IEER president Arjun Makihjani, Ph.D., current policy fails to protect groups other than young adult males. A female infant, for instance, has about a seven times greater chance of developing cancer than a 30-year-old man from the same radiation dose. The report recommends that compliance with radiation protection always be estimated by calculating doses for those at the greatest risk from excess exposure.