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Health Phys. 1997 Apr;72(4):519-23.

Radiation protection of radiosensitive populations.

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Arizona State University, Tempe 85287-2701, USA.


Radiosensitive populations (defined as subpopulations with increased radiogenic risk for cancer) may include individuals with known genetic predispositions for cancer (e.g., breast cancer), and persons with certain diseases, such as ataxia telangiectasia, which are characterized by enhanced radiation sensitivity and increased risk for cancer. Although approximately 10% of the population may be radiosensitive, current radiological protection limits, based on the "average" individual, should be retained. Radiation is a weak environmental carcinogen. Diet and cigarette smoking each account for 15-18 times more cancer deaths. Radiosensitivity is a much less important host factor than age and genetic predisposition. Workers should be allowed to "declare" a predisposition for cancer. Workers who have declared radiosensitivities should be provided with additional information regarding job-related risks and strategies to reduce dose. "Declared" employees should not be subjected to different terms and conditions of employment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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