Low Levels of Radiation Found to be a Cancer Risk
Scientists from the Molecular Genetics laboratory at the McDonald Institute at the University of Cambridge have argued that their works shows that people who are exposed to even low levels of radiation at work may be at risk of cancer.
The McDonald Institute scientists believe that current safety limits maybe too high and that more research needs to be done to protect health workers, scientists and others who come into contact with radioactive materials. Prolonged exposure to relatively low doses of radiation can cause mutations in human DNA. They have suggested that it may also affect genes that have been linked with leukemia and other cancers.
The research was done with fisherman who live in Kerala, India which has one of the highest background radiation levels in the world. The people in the study had higher levels of "point mutations" in their mitochondrial DNA and were exposed to radiation which is 10 times greater than the worldwide average. However, those who are exposed to radiation at work are allowed to receive up to 50 times the normal level.
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Page last updated: January 28, 2003