Igor Piotrowski, Katarzyna Kulcenty, Wiktoria Maria Suchorska, Agnieszka Skrobała, Małgorzata Skórska, Marta Kruszyna-Mochalska, Anna Kowalik, Weronika Jackowiak and Julian Malicki
Although the effects of high dose radiation on human cells and tissues are relatively well defined, there is no consensus regarding the effects of low and very low radiation doses on the organism. Ionizing radiation has been shown to induce gene mutations and chromosome aberrations which are known to be involved in the process of carcinogenesis. The induction of secondary cancers is a challenging long-term side effect in oncologic patients treated with radiation. Medical sources of radiation like intensity modulated radiotherapy used in cancer treatment and computed tomography used in diagnostics, deliver very low doses of radiation to large volumes of healthy tissue, which might contribute to increased cancer rates in long surviving patients and in the general population. Research shows that because of the phenomena characteristic for low dose radiation the risk of cancer induction from exposure of healthy tissues to low dose radiation can be greater than the risk calculated from linear no-threshold model. Epidemiological data collected from radiation workers and atomic bomb survivors confirms that exposure to low dose radiation can contribute to increased cancer risk and also that the risk might correlate with the age at exposure.
Understanding the molecular mechanisms of response to low dose radiation is crucial for the proper evaluation of risks and benefits that stem from these exposures and should be considered in the radiotherapy treatment planning and in determining the allowed occupational exposures.
Although ionising radiation has proven beneficial in the diagnosis and therapy of a number of diseases, one should keep in mind that irradiating healthy tissue may increase the risk of cancer. In order to justify an exposure to radiation, both the benefits and the risks must be evaluated and compared. The deleterious effects of medium and high doses are well known, but it is much less clear what effects arise from low doses (below 0.1 Gy), which is why such risk estimates are extremely important. This review presents the current state, important assumptions and steps being made in deriving cancer risk estimates for low dose exposures.
Ivica Prlić, Marija Mihić, Gordana Marović and Tomislav Meštrović
Total Occupational Exposure During Characterisation, Conditioning, and Securing of Radioactive Sealed Sources: A New Dosimetric Concept Using Active Electronic Dosimeters
Radiation dosimetry in protection against ionising radiation involves research of all possible pathways through which natural or man-made radioactive materials can contaminate a habitat and actually harm its biota. It also takes into account natural and artificial (man-made) electromagnetic ionizing radiation (γ and x radiation). This article presents a dosimetric study assessing exposure to man-made ionising radiation of local environment and total occupational exposure of two professional workers involved in characterisation, conditioning, and securing of unused radioactive sealed sources. The purpose of the study was to validate a new active electronic dosimeter (AED) of type ALARA OD and to develop a new monitoring method by tracing the external occupational exposure over real time. This method is used to continuously measure and record external radiation doses and, which is a novelty, establish dose rates receiving pattern as a function of real time. Occupational whole body dosimetric results obtained with AED were compared with results obtained with passive dosimetry (film badge and thermoluminiscence). Air, dust, and silicon sand samples were analysed by gamma-spectrometry to estimate internal exposure of the two workers to 222Rn due to inhalation or ingestion of dust and sand in indoor air. In order to establish total occupational exposure, control radon measurement was performed in the immediate environment and the external Hazard index (Hex) was calculated.