Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mutat Res. 1997 Feb 3;373(2):207-14.

Radiation risk estimation in human populations: lessons from the radiological accident in Brazil.

Author information

  • 1Biology Department, University of Victoria, BC, Canada.


The development of radiological and nuclear technologies and the deployment of nuclear weapons have made ionizing radiation one of the most studied human mutagens. Exposure to ionizing radiation produces DNA damage which can result in mutation and cancer, making the risk associated with human exposure a critical issue. In this paper we estimate the risk associated with radiation exposure for individuals exposed to 137Cs during the 1987 Goiânia radiological accident. Using combined regression slopes from both the in vivo hprt mutant frequency and micronucleus frequency data we estimated a doubling dose of 173 (+/-47) cGy for these two endpoints. This is in close agreement with the published estimates for low dose rate and chronic exposure to low-LET radiation. We obtained risk estimates of about 24-fold increase in dominant disorders in the post-exposure generation of the directly exposed population. No detectable increase was found in the population at large. The risk of carcinogenesis in the directly exposed population was found to be increased by a factor in the range of 1.4 to 1.5. The small sample size in this study requires a large element of caution with respect to risk estimates interpretation. Moreover, the doubling dose estimates prepared here are derived from lymphocytes. This somatic data may require additional considerations for both cancer and certainly germ-line events. Nevertheless, the risk of carcinogenesis and genetic harm for this population are good indicators of the potential genetic damage imposed by ionizing radiation to the Goiânia population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk