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Yakugaku Zasshi. 2015;135(11):1197-211. doi: 10.1248/yakushi.15-00188.

[Tremendous Human, Social, and Economic Losses Caused by Obstinate Application of the Failed Linear No-threshold Model].

[Article in Japanese]

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Laboratory of Functional Genomics, School of Pharmacy, Shujitsu University.


The linear no-threshold model (LNT) was recommended in 1956, with abandonment of the traditional threshold dose-response for genetic risk assessment. Adoption of LNT by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) became the standard for radiation regulation worldwide. The ICRP recommends a dose limit of 1 mSv/year for the public, which is too low and which terrorizes innocent people. Indeed, LNT arose mainly from the lifespan survivor study (LSS) of atomic bomb survivors. The LSS, which asserts linear dose-response and no threshold, is challenged mainly on three points. 1) Radiation doses were underestimated by half because of disregard for major residual radiation, resulting in cancer risk overestimation. 2) The dose and dose-rate effectiveness factor (DDREF) of 2 is used, but the actual DDREF is estimated as 16, resulting in cancer risk overestimation by several times. 3) Adaptive response (hormesis) is observed in leukemia and solid cancer cases, consistently contradicting the linearity of LNT. Drastic reduction of cancer risk moves the dose-response curve close to the control line, allowing the setting of a threshold. Living organisms have been evolving for 3.8 billion years under radiation exposure, naturally acquiring various defense mechanisms such as DNA repair mechanisms, apoptosis, and immune response. The failure of LNT lies in the neglect of carcinogenesis and these biological mechanisms. Obstinate application of LNT continues to cause tremendous human, social, and economic losses. The 60-year-old LNT must be rejected to establish a new scientific knowledge-based system.

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