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Radiation Risks Print

New IAEA Radiation Warning Symbol
New IAEA Radiation Warning Symbol

Scientist Dr. Gordon Edwards recently wrote, “Uranium ore bodies are among the deadliest mineral deposits on earth. They harbor large quantities of dangerous radioactive materials” ( Radium, a decay product of uranium commonly found in uranium mine tailings piles, has been labeled by the British Columbia Medical Association as a superb carcinogen because microscopic quantities can cause bone and head cancers, anemia, and leukemia. Polonium-210, which is as radioactive as uranium and a billion times more toxic than cyanide, is a by-product of uranium mining and found in mine tailings. A uranium mine releases radon, which blankets the ground hundreds of miles downwind from a uranium mine as solid radioactive fallout.


The following report has been provided courtesy of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS).

There is no safe level of exposure and there is no dose of (ionizing) radiation so low that the risk of a malignancy is zero”--Dr. Karl Morgan, the father of Health Physics.

Radiation is energy that travels in waves. It includes visible light, ultraviolet light, radio waves and other forms, including particles. Each type of radiation has different properties. Non-ionizing radiation can shake or move molecules. Ionizing radiation can actually break molecular bonds, causing unpredictable chemical reactions. Our Radiation Basics (PDF) fact sheet walks the layperson through what radiation is, where it comes from, types of radiation, half-lives and how it can affect humans. 

Radiation and Children: The Ignored Victims (PDF)reveals how national radiation protection standards fall short of protecting those most vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiation. It discusses how “standard man”, the ubiquitous model for radiation damage, is not sufficient and why these standards are unenforceable and, therefore, unprotective.

Radiation: The Myth of the Millirem fact sheet discusses conventional ways of measuring radiation the units used, and their shortcomings. It also makes the argument that a “permissible” dose doesn’t mean the dose is safe.

The paper Conflicting Mandates, Co-Opted Studies: International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization outlines how the IAEA’s mandate to spread “peaceful” uses of nuclear technology conflicts with the WHO’s need to perform unbiased health studies, especially in the aftermath of Chernobyl.

Below is a graph showing the percent increase in cancer incidence, cancer mortality, and other health effects of human exposure to ionizing radiation. Click here to view the legend for this graph and a list of corresponding reference studies or bibliography.


The European Committee on Radiation Risk was formed in 1997 by the European Parliament as an entity independent from all other Radiation Committees. Parliament agreed there was enough available evidence showing that low-level exposure to man-made radiation caused ill health and that models used by ICRP failed to predict these effects. The resulting report, 2003 Recommendations of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (PDF), addresses not only the science behind the low-dose debate, but also the ethical basis for allowable radiation exposures. If society is ever to have the badly-needed debate on effects of low-doses and dose rates of ionizing radiation, it must challenge the very basis of radiation dose and risk assessment. This report does. Not a moment too soon. For the Nuclear Monitor summary click here. (PDF)


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