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Ionizing Radiation (IR) will have compounding health for future generations.
Relatively little of the information on radiation-related risk comes from studies of populations exposed mostly or only to radioactive fallout, because useful dose-response data are difficult to obtain. While we don’t know why gender is a factor in harm from radiation exposure, we do know that it is. And knowing that there is greater risk calls for action.
We must protect our grandchildren, particularly our granddaughters – now.
Various factors make it difficult to study fallout-related thyroid cancer risk in all but the most heavily exposed populations. Thyroid cancer risks from external radiation are related to gender and to age at the time of exposure, with by far the highest risks occurring among women exposed as young children.
Observations of thyroid cancer risk among children exposed to fall-out from the Chernobyl reactor accident in 1986 have led to a reassessment. An Institute of Medicine report concluded that the Chernobyl observations support the conclusion that I-131 has an equal effect, or at least two-thirds the effect of internal radiation. More recent data on thyroid cancer risk among persons in Belarus and Russia exposed as young children to Chernobyl
fallout offer further support of this inference.
Some of the fallout exposures discussed here occurred roughly 50 to 60 years ago, including from Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombs. Most under study were exposed to fallout or direct radiation—for example, A-bomb survivors—at very young ages during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, are still alive, and the cumulative experience obtained from all studies of radiation-exposed populations is that radiation-related cancers can be expected to occur at any time over the entire lifetime following exposure.
Concern about possible use of radioactive materials by terrorists has been heightened in recent years, including conventional attacks using a dirty bomb—seem more likely (because they are easier to carry out) than a fission event, but it is still useful to ask ourselves…
“What lessons from our research on fallout are applicable to events of radiological terrorism?” – Mary Olson