A new study in the journal Biological Reviews has found that low levels of radiation may be harmful and even areas of high natural radiation may be damaging.
The study looked at a wide range of other studies to build their larger analysis. When a single study found small effects they were frequently too small to make a solid declaration. By taking these studies together the researchers were able to get a clearer picture of actual effects.
The researchers looked at 5000 studies that involved control groups and those exposed to elevated levels of natural radiation sources.
“The organisms studied included plants and animals, but had a large preponderance of human subjects. Each study examined one or more possible effects of radiation, such as DNA damage measured in the lab, prevalence of a disease such as Down’s Syndrome, or the sex ratio produced in offspring. For each effect, a statistical algorithm was used to generate a single value, the effect size, which could be compared across all the studies. The scientists reported significant negative effects in a range of categories, including immunology, physiology, mutation and disease occurrence. The frequency of negative effects was beyond that of random chance.”
““It also provides evidence that there is no threshold below which there are no effects of radiation,” he added. “A theory that has been batted around a lot over the last couple of decades is the idea that is there a threshold of exposure below which there are no negative consequences. These data provide fairly strong evidence that there is no threshold – radiation effects are measurable as far down as you can go, given the statistical power you have at hand.””
The full study can be found here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-185X.2012.00249.x/abstract;jsessionid=5BC4E92A9C9CC4CE2ED064299EA8C07B.d03t03
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